Driver Whose Car Hit School Kids Was Laughing, Yolo Court Told — (SACRAMENTO BEE)

SSRI Ed note: Woman fails to take her antidepressant for 2 days, loses temper in traffic gridlock, drive car into elementary school yard, hitting and injuring children.

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March 4, 1995 

Author: Ted Bell Bee Staff Writer

Witnesses say Jocelyne Siebenrock was smiling and laughing as she drove around a Woodland elementary school yard last October, hitting two children and critically injuring one of them, a Yolo County prosecutor said during Siebenrock’s preliminary hearing Friday.

“There was evidence that Ms. Siebenrock was smiling and laughing,” said Deputy District Attorney Ann Hurd. “That’s not indicative of someone who didn’t know what she was doing.”

Hurd’s comments came in response to a claim by Siebenrock’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jean Jordan, that any of the 28 counts that involved willful conduct should be stricken.

Yolo County Unified Court Judge W. Arvid Johnson disagreed with Jordan and set a trial date of March 21. Siebenrock will be tried on multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon and causing injuries while driving under the influence.

Siebenrock, 46, is charged with gunning her car and causing it to jump the curb at Dingle Elementary School as children were leaving at 1:45 p.m. on Oct. 27.

Allegedly angry at having been boxed in by the traffic gridlock in a school parking lot at pickup time, she drove her car into the yard, scattering screaming children and parents and hitting 6-year-old Anne Manzanares and her 8-year-old brother, Adam.    Anne was in a coma for several days. She suffered multiple fractures to her skull and a leg, and had damage to one eye and ear. She was hospitalized for 19 days and must undergo further surgery.    Adam received cuts in his face that required stitches.

Siebenrock, who had been convicted on drunken driving charges only two weeks earlier, was driving with a suspended license. She was at the school to pick up her two grandchildren. Siebenrock was found mentally competent to stand trial following a court-ordered examination in January.

She avoided any eye contact Friday with members of the Manzanares family while arriving and leaving court. She spent almost all of the 23/4 hours of the hearing staring blankly at a wall.   Woodland Police Sgt. Julie Bryant testified Friday that she interviewed a 7-year-old girl who said Siebenrock was “stiff and smiling” and that an adult, Heidi Mikalic, saw Siebenrock “laughing and intentionally trying to hit the children.”

Bryant and other police witnesses recalled how people at the scene told them that Siebenrock, whose car was in a parking space, became upset at being boxed in by a vehicle in the driveway behind her so she got out of her car, yelled and gestured at the driver, then put her car in reverse and rammed the vehicle.

Siebenrock then put her car in forward gear, and the vehicle jumped the curb into the schoolyard, witnesses said.   Jordan noted that her client had a blood-alcohol content of 0.28 – 3.5 times higher than the legal limit.

“Ms. Siebenrock couldn’t have intended to hurt anyone,” said Jordan.   Woodland Police Detective Armando Fernandez said that two hours after the incident Siebenrock was apologetic.

Fernandez said Siebenrock blamed several factors: she was angry at having been boxed in, she was driving under the influence of alcohol, she had not taken her anti-depression medication for two days, and her foot became stuck under the accelerator and she lost control of the car.