In a statement released yesterday (October 7 2021), Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert takes aim at the California Department of Corrections and protests the planned early release of Ronny Haines Ward.
We have learned that Ward is now scheduled for early release in just over one month, on November 16, 2021.
Just two years ago on April 8th, 2019, Ward was driving under the influence (three times the legal limit, .27) Westbound on M Street at 4th Avenue where he slammed into 31-year-old and 27-weeks pregnant Ciara Villegas who had just exited her vehicle.
DA Schubert notes that “Ciara was flung onto the sidewalk from the impact of the collision. As a result, she suffered massive injuries, including a loss of consciousness, rib fractures, spinal fractures, leg fractures, facial lacerations, and a liver injury. She lost her upper teeth. She required multiple surgeries, including the removal of her spleen.
Tragically, Ciara’s unborn baby died after doctors performed an emergency delivery and attempted to save the baby. Ciara spent the last hours of the baby’s life holding him until he died.”
Ward was charged with felony DUI causing great bodily injury. He was sentenced on November 8, 2019, to six years in state prison- the maximum allowed under the law. Because California law doesn’t include the death of a fetus in its definition of manslaughter, He wasn’t charged with the death of the baby.
Ciara’s mother, Tisha Redden, says that it’s important to know that the baby was born and lived for 3 days and died from “blunt force trauma” as is recorded on his death certificate.
“How crazy it is that he is able to receive an associate’s degree on our tax dollars while he’s serving time? My fiancé, myself, my daughter, and my family will be the ones serving the life sentence that he should have been serving.” says Ciara Villegas. “My son is in a grave because of his selfish acts and our family lives will never be the same. I feel like I’m going through it all over again.”
DA Schubert notes that this drunken behavior wasn’t anything new for Ward, and in fact, Rio Linda Messenger readers spoke up about Ward’s previous activities, even providing RLM and investigators video of Ward attempting to drive his Jeep on a sidewalk.
“This crime occurred after Inmate Ward had a long history of alcohol-related offenses and incidents. In the days leading up to this crime, Ronny Ward was a menace to his community. Witnesses reported that on multiple occasions, he had driven recklessly, revving his engine, swerving through traffic, blowing through stop signs, doing donuts, and almost hitting a pedestrian and her dog.
Ward regularly drank in public until he was inebriated and belligerent, often having to be cut off at the bar he frequented until his keys were taken away. This wasn’t new behavior. In 2014, he was arrested for alcohol-related driving after speeding, swerving, and failing to stop at a stop sign. He admitted to officers that he shouldn’t have been driving. More recently, in 2018, Inmate Ward was involved in three traffic collisions in which he was at fault, one of which appeared to be a hit and run.”
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert
Redden says “It’s a total slap in the face from the State of California and the Department of Corrections. He is considered a violent offender and he is serving less than half of his sentence for killing my grandson and nearly killing my daughter, but we have to live with the aftermath of this crime daily, for the rest of our lives.”
The family is encouraging the community to write letters or send email to the Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to protest Ward’s early release. You can also write to the California Department of Corrections at:
CA Dept, of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Parole Administrator Julie Kaplan
9825 Goethe Rd., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95827
“I’m hoping people in Rio Linda and all over Sacramento will support me and my family in doing this,” Ciara says.
Ciara has also teamed up with MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, for “Sacramento Walk Like MADD 2021” this Saturday at 9am at Maidu Park in Roseville.
The full statement from Anne Marie Schubert is below;