NewsCovering Kern County


Man charged with second-degree murder in the street racing crash that killed woman in SW Bakersfield

Following a deadly crash in Southwest Bakersfield that killed a woman Sunday evening, Bakersfield Police Department said it will continue to stop illegal street racing activity in the city.
Posted at 4:11 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 16:06:58-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A man has been charged with second-degree murder following a deadly street-racing crash that killed Maria Navarro, 57, and put her two grandchildren in the hospital.

On Tuesday Ronald Pierce, 50, was charged with second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and three other misdemeanors. His bail has been raised to $1 million and he is scheduled for his next court hearing at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

The family said both children were flown to Madera Children's Hospital from Kern Medical. Navarro's 9-year-old granddaughter suffered a skull fracture and underwent brain surgery yesterday. A rod has been placed in her left leg because it was also broken. Navarro's 8-year-old grandson has two broken legs with rods in each, and will be wheelchair bound from 1 to 3 years. He also has a broken pelvis, according to family members.

On Monday, Bakersfield Police Department said it will continue to stop illegal street racing activity in the city.

In a statement addressing the incident, Chief Lyle Martin said:

The Bakersfield Police Department is committed to protecting the lives and property of the people we serve. We will continue our efforts to stop the public from engaging in illegal street racing activity. The Bakersfield Police Department will remain diligent in educating the public through continuous enforcement operations, as well as partnering with local, state and federal agencies to attempt to prevent these incidents from occurring. As part of our ongoing efforts, the Bakersfield Police Department conducted overtime traffic enforcement on November 22 and 23, 2019 in the southwest areas of Bakersfield where we have received the majority of complaints. During those operations 9 citations were issued, 4 vehicles were impounded, and there were arrests for driving under the influence (1), parole violation (1) and driving while unlicensed (2). We are working on a plan to partner with the California Highway Patrol in the immediate future to further impact the areas where the majority of the reported activity is occurring. With the approaching holidays the Bakersfield Police Department would like to remind and implore the public to drive safely. We as an organization are heartbroken by this reckless disregard for our neighbors and will work hand in hand with the district attorney’s office to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law.