Santa Monica News
Woman Faces DUI And Murder Charges
Oct 5, 2012 - 12:33:14 AM
SANTA MONICA—A 26-year-old woman was charged with vehicular man slaughter and driving under the influence after hitting an Australian tourist with her car on August 21 in Downtown Santa Monica.
Olivia, Gary and Julianne Mara on Mother's Day 2010.
The crash was reported at 8:20 p.m. in the 300 block of Colorado Avenue. Gary Roberts Mara, 50, was crossing Colorado Avenue against a solid red "don't walk" sign with his 8-year-old daughter and wife.
Cara Cameron was reportedly driving her 2005 Ford Focus eastbound on Colorado from Second Street on a green light as the family entered the crosswalk. Cameron was not able to avoid the pedestrians and hit Mara and his daughter. Mara's 43-year-old wife, Julianne, reported that he picked up his daughter when he noticed the oncoming car and threw her out of the way.
The Australian family was vacationing in the United States to celebrate Mara's fiftieth birthday as well as his wife and his tenth wedding anniversary. They were planning on continuing their trip to Hawaii before the collision occurred.
Cameron remained at the scene until the Santa Monica Police arrived at the scene. Mara was seriously injured and was taken to a local trauma center where he was pronounced dead in the early morning hours of August 21. Mara's daughter, Olivia, sustained minor injuries and his wife did not have any injuries.
At the time of the investigation, it became evident that Cameron was under the influence and was arrested for the felonies driving while intoxicated and vehicular manslaughter. Cameron was released soon after from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department when she posted $100,000 of her $1,000,000.
During an arraignment on September 21, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office added a count of second degree murder to Cameron's charges due to the fact that she has had an alcohol-related traffic collision on her record from 2007. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 29.
Mara was a notable Australian rugby league player for Australia's Balmain Tigers in 1982 and for South Africa's Parramatta Eels in 1984. He retired from rugby in 1985. His father, Bobby Mara, also played for the Balmain Tigers and was classified as the team's greatest winger and a member of the club's hall of fame. A statement released by the Wests Tigers described Mara as a "classy goal kicking centre and winger."
Olivia, Gary and Julianne Mara.
According to her Facebook profile, Cameron was born in Newark, California and graduated from Heyward's Moreau Catholic High School in 2003. It was during her time at San Francisco State University that she was charged for her first DUI which took place outside of California and completed a court-ordered DUI program in Alameda County.
Cameron worked as a part-time model and has a profile on Model Mayhem in which she describes modeling as "a creative outlet" and "a chance to play the muse."
In 2010, Cameron took a post-graduate trip around South America which eventually led her to Iquitos, Peru. It was during her time in Iquitos that she was reportedly raped by Peruvian travel guide, Victor Hugo Escobar Naro.
Cameron claimed that Naro continuously hit on her despite constantly refusing his advances during a five-day trek through the Amazon jungle. After another inappropriate occurrence from Naro, Cameron and her friend decided to leave the tour and left to stay at a hotel that was paid by Naro as an apology for his actions. According to Cameron's statements to Peruvian police, she was sleeping in her hotel room when she awoke to Naro sexually assaulting her. She managed to fight him off her and used pepper spray on him.
Soon, the then 24-year-old made headlines in Peru and was subject to continuous harassment by the public. Many Peruvian newspapers made claims that Cameron was drunk at the time and that she was Naro's jealous lover who lied about the rape. She denied these allegations and stated that she took a blood test right after the incident that proved she was clean at the time. A rape kit also proved signs of lesions and tears that would be used as evidence to support Cameron's claim.
Cameron spent a large amount of time in Iquitos in order to see through the charges against Naro. Her efforts were proven to be in vain as months of what she described as corrupt court cases enabled her ability to put the alleged rapist in prison.
"The Peruvian judicial system has made me out to be the bad guy, and I think they are being so difficult so I will drop charges and run home. However, I am a fighter, and cannot leave with out ensuring he cannot continue to do this to other young women,” said Cameron in a statement. “I refuse to be raped again by a corrupt Peruvian legal system.”
Cameron's personal blog detailed some of her experiences with alcohol and drugs. In a post made in 2010 titled "Giant dark shades to hide the truth," Cameron wrote of about drinking in her car before meeting some friends in a restaurant. “I swig the bottle again, my mouth puckering and throat burning as I force my throat to contract and take it with no chaser to cool the fire”¦ I suddenly feel like being drunk. Really, really drunk." Additionally, the model claimed on her blog to have used marijuana, cocaine, Xanax and DMT, a psychedelic.
Anyone with information regarding the collision is urged to contact investigator Chris Dawson at (310) 458-8954 or the watch commander at (310) 458-8495.
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