Accused driver in Valentine’s Day crash found incompetent

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A woman charged with drugged driving in a Valentine’s Day crash that injured several people has been found incompetent to stand trial and criminal proceedings have been suspended, according to the county prosecutor’s office.

The ruling on the competency of Joanna Bojorquez-Higuera was made Wednesday in Superior Court, and she has been referred for evaluation ahead of another hearing later this month, said Daniela Gonzaga, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.

In determining competency, a judge weighs evidence — including reports from a psychiatrist — to determine whether a defendant understands the criminal proceedings against them and can assist their attorney with the preparation of a defense. Those found incompetent are sent to a state hospital where efforts are made to restore them to competency.

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Bojorquez-Higuera was arrested after allegedly driving under the influence of a drug and speeding through a red light at the intersection of California and Chester avenues, crashing into other vehicles and injuring four people. One person suffered fractured ribs and tailbone, another a broken collarbone.

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