For Immediate Release
Santa Rosa Woman Sentenced for Vehicular Manslaughter and Leaving Scene of Accident Resulting in Death
SANTA ROSA, CA | January 19, 2024
Defendant Allisa Marie Whitten, 35 years old of Santa Rosa, was sentenced today by the Honorable Mark Urioste to serve 3 years and 3 months in state prison after pleading no-contest in November of last year to crimes including felony leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, misdemeanor destroying evidence, and misdemeanor driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.
District Attorney Carla Rodriguez stated, “We offer our deepest condolences to the family of the victim. We filed every charge that was supported by the admissible evidence in this case and sought the maximum sentence allowed under the law.”
On the morning of August 27, 2022, victim Oswaldo Mario-Rogilio Cardenas, Jr, 18 years old, was walking with two friends on the shoulder of River Road, west of Rio Vista Road. The three young men had just returned from retrieving a catfish trap that they had previously set in the river. Ms. Whitten drove up behind them in a Buick SUV and struck the victim from behind, sending him flying forward through the air. Whitten stopped her car, exited, and walked to the boys. While the victim’s body lay motionless on the road, one of the boys told Whitten that she had killed the victim and asked her to call 911. Whitten failed to do so and responded by getting back into her car and fleeing.
The area surrounding the scene had a marathon taking place, and multiple California Highway Patrol officers were posted at different locations to assist. Whitten drove past each officer, failing to notify them of the situation. She returned home and parked her SUV in the back of her property.
According to statements provided by the defendant to investigators, but never independently verified, she then took a bus to San Francisco and discussed the situation with a friend, to whom she agreed to give her SUV that had sustained collision damage. Thereafter, the vehicle was set on fire and abandoned. The defendant failed to provide any identifying information of this individual, other than a first name.
Over the course of six days, several of Whitten’s friends told her to notify law enforcement of what happened and to turn herself in. On each occasion, she chose not to, and officers had to obtain an arrest warrant to locate Whitten and arrest her.
On November 17, 2023, Whitten pled “no contest” to all charged crimes and admitted the legal aggravating sentencing factor that, “the crime involved great bodily harm or other acts disclosing a high degree of callousness.” The plea by Whitten was “open to the court,” which meant that there was no sentencing agreement between the defendant and the district attorney’s office, and that the People were able to recommend and argue for the maximum sentence allowed under the law. During the afternoon sentencing hearing the court heard input from the victim’s family, the district attorney’s office, and Whitten’s legal counsel. The prosecutor urged the Court to impose the maximum sentence allowed under the law in the matter, which was 4 years, 6 months incarceration.
The matter was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jamie Kandel and District Attorney Investigator David Linscomb. California Highway Patrol Officer Vicencio and Sergeant Cyril Ruffin headed the investigation of this crime.
Media Spokesperson, Assistant District Attorney Brian Staebell
Media Coordinator, Carrie Trevena