041917 jensen buchanan

Soap star Jensen Buchanan, 54, charged in connection with a DUI crash last May that left Bradley Asolas in critical condition, appears at Santa Maria Superior Court in April for a bail revocation hearing.

The preliminary hearing for a veteran soap actress accused of driving drunk and crashing into an Arizona man outside of Buellton last year has been postponed to Aug. 18. 

Jensen Buchanan, 54, who's known for her roles on shows such as "One Life to Live," "Another World" and "The Young and the Restless," is charged with driving her Mercedes S550 under the influence and crashing into Bradley Asolas on Highway 154 last May. She reportedly crossed the double yellow line on the highway and slammed head-on into Asolas, who suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. 

Buchanan also faces special allegations of driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.34, along with causing great bodily injury. She pleaded not guilty in October. 

During Buchanan's brief appearance Friday morning, Deputy District Attorney Jon Kawashima and Alan Eisner, one of three attorneys representing Buchanan, agreed to the postponement. In addition, Buchanan entered a time waiver through the month of September for a speedy preliminary hearing. 

The Aug. 18 preliminary hearing is estimated to last about four hours, and is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. in Department 8 at the Santa Maria Superior Court. 

Over the last few months, both the prosecution and defense counsel were far from reaching an agreement to settle the case. The prosecution sought prison time, whereas Buchanan's attorneys were pressing for probation plus up to one year in County Jail. 

The decision was left for Judge Gustavo Lavayen to recommend what he believed would be an appropriate sentence for Buchanan if she were to plead to the court. 

While the judge never spelled out the details regarding the pending recommendations, he did hint that he did not agree with the Probation Office's suggestion to sentence Buchanan to probation. 

A month ago, after a brief chambers meeting with the prosecution and defense counsel, all parties agreed to move forward with a preliminary hearing, which indicated that both sides have been unable to reach an agreement in Buchanan's case. 

Following Buchanan's earlier court hearing in March, victim Bradley Asolas felt compelled to speak out about his journey toward rehabilitation following the May 18 collision. He said the fight to maintain a normal life continues. 

The crash left Asolas with a shattered femur, pelvis, humerus, two broken ribs, lacerations in his liver, spleen and pancreas, just to name a few of the several injuries he sustained. Forty-five percent of his heart muscle died. Parts of his spinal column were also broken, and he developed pulmonary embolism, internal bleeding and high fever. Cardiac problems developed soon after the crash that further complicated his road to recovery.

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210


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