PETALUMA, Calif. — The mother of two girls killed last year in Northern California when the car she was driving crashed and flipped into a Sonoma County river has been arrested in her daughters’ deaths, authorities said.

Alejandra Hernandez, 27, will appear in court Tuesday to seek a reduction on her $500,000 bail, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported (http://bit.ly/2hwVffZ).

Hernandez was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, felony child endangerment and driving with a suspended license.

The fatal crash happened in August when Hernandez was headed to Rohnert Park to take her daughters, 7-year-old Sayra Gonzalez and 9-year-old Delilah Gonzalez, to school.

It was unclear exactly what triggered her arrest. Brian Staebell, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said only that “the totality of her conduct while driving” resulted in the criminal charges.

Hernandez was driving a sedan when she lost control and went down a wooded embankment and into the Petaluma River, where the car overturned and sank.

A witness ran to help and found Hernandez, of Rohnert Park, on top of the car. Police officers and firefighters arrived within minutes and dove in to get the girls, still strapped upside down by their seat belts in the water-filled car, but could not free them in time. They were pronounced dead at a Petaluma hospital.

A week earlier, two young sisters, ages 4 and 6, died in a similar accident when the pickup their mother was driving crashed into the Russian River, also in Sonoma County.

Hernandez faces up to 11 years and four months in prison if convicted.


Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com