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Capitola hit and run suspect pleads not guilty to charges, court says

CAPITOLA, Calif. (KION) -- UPDATE ON DEC. 5, 2023 AT 11:33 AM- The suspect in a deadly Capitola hit and run has pleaded not guilty to two charges according to the Santa Cruz County Superior Court.

The Court said that 58-year-old Aurora Lopez of Soquel pleaded not guilty to felony hit and run causing death and vehicular manslaughter.

Lopez is facing charges related to the hit and run that claimed the life of 70-year-old Debra Town back on Nov. 18.

Town was struck and killed on Bay Avenue and Crossroads Loop.

Capitola Police arrested Lopez on Dec. 1.

The Santa Cruz County Superior Court says that Lopez will next be in court on Dec. 15.

The Santa Cruz District Attorney says if Lopez is convicted that she will be facing five years in state prison.

Suspect in deadly Capitola hit and run arrested, police

The suspect in a deadly Capitola hit and run has been arrested by police, according to investigators.

58-year-old Aurora Lopez of Soquel was found and arrested on December 1, according to Capitola Police.

Lopez is facing charges related to the hit and run that claimed the life of Debra Towne back on November 18.

Capitola Police said Lopez is being charged with vehicular manslaughter and hit and run causing death.

Anyone with additional tips on this case are asked to contact Capitola Police at 831-475-2791

70 year-old-woman killed in hit and run in Capitola, victim's family still wants answers

Capitola Police said there is a $20,000 reward being offered to find a suspect who was allegedly involved in a deadly hit-and-run crash.

The crash happened on Bay Avenue and Crossroads Loop on Nov. 18 around 8:30 p.m.

Police identified the victim as 70-year-old Debra Towne of Capitola. For Town's daughter Adrienne West, the loss is still surreal on one of her mom's favorite days of the year.

"The loss is devastating. I can't even. It's hard to put into words how it feels. And it was only a few days ago," West said. "And here we are at Thanksgiving which was one of the holidays she loved the most and to not see her family and to not have her. I just I can't even explain how that feels," said West.

Capitola PD said the suspect was driving a dark colored SUV with skinny headlights.

Investigators say the driver behind the wheel then drove through the parking lot possibly turning east on Hill Street.

"No one wants the be taken this way," West said. "Loss is hard enough as it is. It's so heavy,"

People on social media voiced their concerns on a post of the Capitola Police Department's Facebook Page.

Many community members calling on city leaders to install flashing pedestrian lights on streets throughout the city.

"That makes me pretty angry to know that a simple change of a light could have maybe saved her life," said West.

KION reached out to the City of Capitola to see if there are plans to install pedestrian lighting signals, but have not received a response back.

If anyone has any information or may have dash or ring footage of the incident, you are encouraged to contact Detective Currier at or 831-4242 ext. 260.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.

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Derrick Ow

Assignment Editor for KION News Channel 5/46

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Victor Guzman

Victor Guzman is the Assistant News Director at KION News Channel 5/46.


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