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Grants Pass woman charged with manslaughter in fatal SUV crash

A Grants Pass woman faces felony manslaughter and impaired driving charges accusing her of driving at near twice the legal blood alcohol limit leading up to a crash that killed a pedestrian in southwest Grants Pass.

Virginia Lee Richardson, 40, was arrested last week on vehicular homicide charges accusing her in a single vehicle crash that killed 34-year-old Nathaniel Vincente Contreras Jr. earlier this summer, according to a release issued Wednesday by Grants Pass police.

At 4:14 a.m. July 2, Grants Pass police and firefighters found Richardson’s SUV on its side and Contreras pinned beneath the vehicle in the 300 block of Southwest L Street.

Contreras ultimately died at the scene of the crash.

Richardson was questioned at the scene, but police made no arrests at the time of the crash.

“Due to the extensive amount of damage and evidence at the scene, no arrests were made at that time pending further follow up and investigation into the cause of the crash,” the Wednesday release states.

On Oct. 19, a grand jury charged Richardson with a felony charge of second-degree manslaughter and misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence of intoxicants and second-degree criminal mischief.

According to the indictment filed Oct. 22 by the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office, Richardson’s blood alcohol level was .15 — nearly twice the Oregon legal limit of .08.

Richardson turned herself in to Grants Pass police Oct. 28 on the arrest warrant, as as of Thursday remains an inmate in the Josephine County Jail on $250,000 bail.