Santa Paula, CA: A 33-year-old Santa Paula police officer killed Sunday in an off-duty DUI crash died of blunt-force neck injuries, officials said Tuesday.
Kimberley Hemminger’s death was ruled accidental, said Craig Stevens, a senior deputy Ventura County medical examiner.
Her friend, Christopher Blankenship, a Santa Paula volunteer reserve police officer, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter after the crash on a private paved road near Santa Paula.
Blankenship was booked into Ventura County jail and released from jail Monday morning on $50,000 bail, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office reported. He is scheduled to appear in court Friday.
The crash was reported about 9:15 p.m. on South Mountain Lookout Road near Coyote Canyon Road, the California Highway Patrol said. Blankenship apparently couldn’t negotiate a right-hand curve and lost control of a 1984 Jeep Wrangler east on South Mountain Lookout Road, officials said.
The vehicle spun out and rolled over. Hemminger, of Oxnard, was partially ejected and pinned under the Jeep. She was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP reported.