A Fresno man with three previous DUI convictions pleaded not guilty Monday to leaving the scene of an collision in northwest Fresno where, police say, he struck an unhoused woman and drove nearly 8 miles with her body lodged underneath.
Shawn Ginder, 38, made his first court appearance since being charged in connection with the May 13, 2022, incident that killed 29-year-old Monique Contreraz.
Contreraz, who is unhoused, was pushing a shopping cart and walking her dog Lucky near the intersection of Herndon and Milburn avenues when she was struck by Ginder’s Chevrolet Silverado truck.
Police said Ginder did not stop until he reached the La Quinta Inn Hotel near Cornelia Avenue and Golden State Boulevard, about 8 miles away. Police were called to the area after receiving reports of suspicious behavior, but when they arrived Ginder had fled.
He was arrested a day later by the Madera County Sheriff’s Office after deputies found him hiding out in a three-story cabin at Bass Lake. Ginder suffered serious injuries after jumping out of the top floor to try and escape, the sheriff’s office said.
Ginder appeared to still be recovering from his injuries Monday. He sat in a wheelchair during his arraignment with his lawyer Dan Bacon at his side.
Judge Samuel Dalesandro ordered Ginder back to court Nov. 28 for a pre-preliminary hearing.
Defendent has prior DUI convictions
Advocates for the unhoused have been critical of the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office for not charging Ginder with a more serious crime, such as vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dennis Lewis has said prosecutors chose a charge that they could prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury.
If convicted of the current charge, plus a prior strike conviction, Ginder could be sent to prison for a maximum of eight years.
Since 2006, Ginder’s criminal history includes convictions for three DUIs, resisting a police officer, driving without a driver’s license, assault with a firearm and speeding.