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Drunk driver dodges manslaughter charges Neal Putnam | Thu, Jul 08 2010 05:58 PM

A South Bay man whose car was one of several vehicles that struck and killed a woman walking on a freeway in National City ended his case June 25 with a guilty plea to misdemeanor drunk driving.

Felony vehicular manslaughter charges were dismissed against Niko Williams, 21, involving the Feb. 7 death of Tanesha Oates, 27, of San Diego, after he also pleaded guilty to driving without a license.

Williams requested immediate sentencing and Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Esteban Hernandez placed him on five years probation.

Williams was given credit for serving nine days in jail before he posted bond and was ordered to participate in a first conviction drunk driving program.

Hernandez also ordered him to attend another program operated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving which the prosecutor described as "a terrific program."

The victim had left her purse at a bar around midnight and was walking on Interstate 805 near state Route 54. Her body was found around 12:30 a.m. after she had been hit by several cars, but initially she was unidentified because she left her purse in the bar.

Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said Oates was wearing black clothing and it was determined that the victim was mostly at fault for walking around on the freeway at night.

She said the prosecution couldn't prove the felony case against Williams.

The attorney for Williams could not be reached for comment.

The MADD program features relatives of drunk driving victims who tell defendants how much alcohol-related deaths have affected them.

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