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Woman pleads not guilty in drunk-driving case

Danae Marie Miller, 23, of Newport Coast, charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

April 15, 2011|By Alexandra Baird, dailypilot@latimes.com

A Newport Coast woman charged with hitting and killing a bicyclist while driving drunk pleaded not guilty Friday.

Danae Marie Miller, 23, was arraigned at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach. She is charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

The Feb. 21 crash killed Amine Britel, 41, a Moroccan immigrant who owned a travel agency in Newport Beach.

Police said Miller was drinking at her workplace before driving home that evening. Prosecutors said she was also texting when she drifted into the bike lane on San Joaquin Hills Road and hit Britel from behind. Britel died at the scene.

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Two hours after the crash, police found that Miller had a blood alcohol content level of 0.10 — more than the legal limit of 0.08.

Court records showed Miller has had 15 traffic citations since 2005. The violations include driving the wrong way on a one-way street, speeding, driving while using a cell phone, and failing to stop at a stop sign. Because she went to traffic school and of the time between the tickets, Miller never had her license suspended.

According to wafin.com, a website for Moroccan Americans, Britel earned his a bachelor's in economics from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard. He was a triathlete and soccer player.

Miller's pretrial is set for May 19. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.

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