California, Shasta

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California, Shasta

Postby Midnight toker » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:38 am

The Record Searchlight wrote:
Woman dies in crash; driver may face DUI charge

By Kimberly Ross, Record Searchlight
September 22, 2006

The road trip that announced a young Weed couple's engagement turned fatal for the 20-year-old woman and could mean manslaughter charges for her fiance, who was released from Shasta County jail on Thursday.

Alisha Elrod and Skylar Stone, 22, were driving back to Weed from Southern California when their van swerved, spun and rolled Tuesday on Interstate 5 near Lakehead.

Elrod died soon after. Stone was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and felony manslaughter.

The two worked together at Menzies' Natives Nursery in Weed, where Elrod was the retail manager and Stone was the nursery's field foreman.

On Thursday, owner Robert Menzies described Elrod as "an angel."

"She was wonderful with people, she had a wonderful spirit," he said. "My clients loved her dearly, and we're all in shock. We're all in shock."

Menzies said the couple on Tuesday were driving home after telling their parents of their plans to marry. Both grew up in Ojai, near Santa Barbara, where Elrod's parents live, said Menzies' former wife, Jan Wilson of Ojai.

Stone is the best friend of their son, Dillon Menzies, 21, of Weed. The young men have known each other since the third grade, and Stone lived at their house for a time while he was a teen, Wilson said.

"This kid's picked himself up by the bootstraps. He's really a good kid," she said.

For years, Stone had worked at a north state ranch in the Menzies' family, sometimes living there, and enjoyed camping in the Trinity Alps. He and Elrod moved to Weed this spring, Wilson said.

"She was so looking forward to going to her new home because she was surrounded by nature," Wilson said.

Elrod was into health foods and had worked at a health food store, as well as a gem and crystal shop. Stone, a vegetarian, only ate organic, vegetarian food.

He doesn't drink alcohol, Wilson said.

She suspects the DUI arrest came after officers found a prescription for medical marijuana for back pain in Stone's wallet. He told Wilson that he swerved to avoid an oncoming truck, she said Thursday.

Stone was released from Shasta County jail on Thursday with no charges filed. The results of Stone's blood test were not back yet, California Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer Kurt Heuer said Thursday.

However, Heuer said his office will study filing DUI- and manslaughter-related charges once the crash's report is finalized.

"Due to the complex nature of this particular case, we decided to release him for now and make sure that we get the report all correct and complete" before considering the filing of charges, he said.

Robert Menzies said he'll fight any allegations.

"That's ridiculous," Menzies said of the CHP's allegations.

Meanwhile, Elrod's fiance, friends and family mourn her loss.

"She had the most enchanting smile," Wilson said. "She just kind of disarmed people with her smile."

Reporter Kimberly Ross can be reached at 225-8339 or at kross@redding.com.

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