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DUI suspect in crash that killed toddlers appears in court

A woman accused of a DUI crash this month that killed her two nieces appeared in North Las Vegas Justice Court on Tuesday morning.

Kaleah Manning, 23, sat in a wheelchair during the hearing in front of North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Natalie Tyrrell.

Her sister, 25-year-old Raenysa Washington, the mother of the girls who also faces criminal charges, remained hospitalized, according to their attorney Dan Winder.

According to an arrest report, Manning was driving the night of the single-vehicle crash and had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

Washington’s children, 3-year-old Taylor Wilmer and 2-year-old Rose Wilmer, died after the crash in a neighborhood near Lone Mountain Road and Clayton Street, police said.

Manning faces three counts of DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm or death. She is also accused of driving with a suspended license and having no proof of insurance. Washington faces two counts of child neglect or endangerment resulting in death.

Winder asked to argue for a lower bail on Tuesday, but the judge said she had already addressed bail for the women during a hearing over the weekend, before Winder was hired as their attorney.

The amount of bail was not immediately clear.

Winder said the defense team was in the process of investigating the accident.

“We need to withhold judgement until all the evidence is in, until the investigation is complete,” he said. “We need to withhold any kind of rush to judgement at this time.”

Winder said both sisters suffered “significant injuries.” Washington had two broken legs and internal bleeding, while Manning suffered a broken ankle and had to have her spleen removed, he said.

During the court hearing Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Yu Meng said prosecutors have filed court documents indicating they might bring the case to a grand jury instead of holding a preliminary hearing. Like a judge during a preliminary hearing, a grand jury has the power to determine if there is enough evidence for a defendant to stand trial.

In an interview with police, Manning said she remembered taking two shots of tequila on Dec. 11, but she did not remember getting behind the wheel of her minivan, which had no child safety restraints, according to an arrest report. The children’s mother told police that she knew it was not OK to put the girls in a car with no child safety seats, but since it was not her car, “she couldn’t argue,” the report said.

Washington also told police she saw Manning and one of Manning’s friends drink what she “believed” to be an entire bottle of tequila before the crash, police said.

Manning was driving down Scott Robinson Boulevard when she veered off the roadway at about 9:15 p.m., the report said. The car crashed into a landscape buffer, then smashed into a tree, a light pole and then a large palm tree. After the crash, Manning repeatedly told police that the car’s power steering “pulled her to the left.”

Rose died at the scene, and Taylor died at University Medical Center early the next day, police have said.

Tyrrell scheduled another hearing for Jan. 4.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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