Santos' Daughter Indicted
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/Blood-Horse Publications
By Karen M. Johnson

Sophia Santos, the daughter of Hall of Fame rider Jose Santos, was indicted Dec. 17 by a Nassau County grand jury on 13 counts, stemming from a deadly accident she was involved in while allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Santos, 20, remains in jail following the Nov. 11 incident in which a 62-year-old woman, Virginia Casazza Urgo, was killed when struck by the 2006 Mercedes Benz Santos was driving. Two other passengers traveling in Urgo’s car suffered serious injuries.

According to the Nassau County clerk’s office, among the charges the grand jury brought against Santos were vehicular manslaughter in the second degree—which carries a sentence if convicted up to seven years in jail—driving while intoxicated, driving without insurance and a license, and reckless endangerment. Six charges of vehicular assault also were part of the indictment.

The car involved in the deadly accident was registered to Jose’s wife, Rita. Prosecutors said a breath test revealed Sophia Santos' blood-alcohol level was twice the permitted level of 0.8 percent.

Following the indictment, an official at the clerk’s office said Santos will be formally arraigned on those charges Dec. 20. After that, the matter will proceed to trial, according to Santos’ public defender, Michael F. Berger. Berger said he expects pre-trial motions in the case to begin in January.

Berger was assigned the case when Santos’ family said they were financially unable to provide her with legal representation.

Santos is being held on bail for $1 million or a $500,000 cash bond.

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