Cara Maree Cameron  (Courtesy SMPD)

Cara Maree Cameron (Courtesy SMPD)

DOWNTOWN — A part-time model pleaded no contest Thursday to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the August 2012 death of an Australian rugby player who was hit and killed while vacationing in Santa Monica with his family, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Cara Maree Cameron, 28, is facing up to four years in custody and will be ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to the family of Gary Mara, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Liu said.

Cameron is scheduled to return to the Airport Branch Courthouse on Jan. 17 for sentencing. Cameron had faced life in prison.

Mara, a former rugby star with the Balmain Tigers and Parramatta Eels, entered a crosswalk on Colorado Avenue between Fourth and Main streets on Aug. 21, 2012 with his wife and their 8-year-old daughter against the light when he was struck by a car driven by Cameron, prosecutors said.

Mara’s wife said her husband picked up their daughter and threw her out of the way of the car, saving her life.

The daughter suffered minor injuries. Mara died the next day at a local hospital.

Prosecutors filed a murder charge against Cameron after they discovered that she had an alcohol-related car crash in 2007.

Police said Mara and his family had just finished having dinner to celebrate his 50th birthday when they entered the crosswalk despite a “Don’t Walk” signal.

Cameron initially pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. She posted bail of $1 million.

Traffic investigators told the Daily Press the day after the crash that Cameron was traveling around 40 mph when she hit Mara and side-swiped his daughter. Cameron stopped her car and cooperated with officers.

 

kevinh@smdp.com