A 56-year-old Fresno driver accused of striking and killing a skateboarder in east-central Fresno pleaded not guilty to felony hit and run and other charges Wednesday.
Susan Chenot allegedly killed Michael Sampedro, 31, of Fresno, on Saturday as he was riding a skateboard east on Ashlan Avenue near Cedar Avenue. Police believe Chenot struck Sampedro with her vehicle, a blue Mini Cooper. He died at the scene.
Wednesday’s arraignment was Chenot’s first court appearance in the case, where she’s also charged with vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and possession of a controlled substance.
After the crash, a witness reported the Mini Cooper’s license plate number to police. Officers tracked the vehicle to Chenot’s home in northwest Fresno, where police said she admitted her role in the crash.
Several members of Sampedro’s family were in court Wednesday. Some wept as Chenot was led into the courtroom by bailiffs. She glanced briefly at Sampedro’s family and then looked away. She also appeared to be crying.
Chenot will return to court on Aug. 20. She also faces a probation violation charge. She had been on probation after pleading no contest to a charge of corporal injury to a spouse.
Court documents show she has several driving violations dating back to 2007, including three tickets for speeding, driving while using a cell phone, plus having no proof of insurance.
The Sampedro family, who declined to comment after the hearing, have started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for funeral expenses.