Gabrielle Jane Nestande, Ex-OC Assemblyman and Supervisor Bruce's Daughter, Held in Fatal Hit-and-Run

The apple really doesn't fall far from the tree: former Orange County Supervisor and state Assemblyman Bruce Nestande served six months of house arrest and three years probation after pleading guilty in 2007 to driving drunk the wrong way on a one-way street and hitting a parked car. Now his 23-year-old daughter, Gabrielle Jane Nestande, has been charged with alleged felony hit-and-run in the death of a woman in Texas early Friday, although alcohol is not believed to have been a factor.

The Austin Statesman has the scoop.

Around 5 a.m. Friday, a homeowner found the bloodied body of Courtney Paige Griffin, 30, in the driveway of his home in Tarrytown. She had been thrown through a bush, and there was a piece of a broken headlight lens nearby.

An anonymous call came in around 9 a.m. from someone who spotted a black BMW 3 Series sedan with a broken windshield parked in the driveway of a home about a half-mile from where Griffin's body was found. Upon closer inspection, police discovered damage to the front right quarterpanel and bumper, the windshield and the passenger side mirror. Pieces of clothing were lodged in cracks in the windshield.

The car was traced to Nestande, who had parked at the home of an acquaintance Thursday night before getting a ride to her job Friday morning in the office of Texas Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center), where she works as an administrative aide. Someone at the home told police Nestande had arrived in tears, saying someone threw something at her car's windshield.

Authorities caught up with her at the Capitol. During questioning, she is alleged to have admitted to being the driver, of having been involved in an accident but not knowing what to do. She then declined to speak further without first consulting a lawyer. The former Newport Beach resident was arrested on suspicion of with failure to stop and render aid, a third-degree felony, and held in jail in lieu of $35,000 bail.

Nestande's father was a special assistant to then-Governor Ronald Reagan in the early 1970s and chairman of the state GOP from 1972-73. He got elected to the state Assembly out of Orange County in 1974 and remained in the lower house through 1980. He was an Orange County supervisor from 1980-87. He chaired the California Transportation Commission and, in 1994, Michael Huffington's unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate. His son by another mother, Brian Nestande, is currently a state assemblyman out of the Palm Desert area.

Gabrielle attended Baylor University and worked as an unpaid intern for Texas Gov. Rick Perry's successful 2010 re-election campaign. On Thursday, the Texas Legislature honored her with a resolution for her work at the Capitol.


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