March 27, 2013
A 45-year-old Santa Paula Police volunteer reserve has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in an accident that killed a Santa Paula Police officer.
According to the Ventura County Star, the reserve officer was driving his vehicle with a 33-year-old Santa Paula policewoman as his passenger, when he lost control of the car. He was trying to negotiate a right-hand curve on South Mountain Lookout Road. His car rolled over and the woman was killed when she was partially ejected and pinned under the vehicle. They were both off duty at the time of the crash.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) said she was pronounced dead at the scene. She had been a five-year veteran of the Santa Paula Police Department. Two passengers in the back of the vehicle received minor injuries and the driver was not injured in the crash. None of them were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.
Although the case was set for a preliminary hearing, the driver took a plea agreement. He let the family and the district attorney know that he had no intention of going through with the hearing and that he intended to plead guilty to the charge.
California Penal Code 191.5 (a) specifies gross vehicular manslaughter while driving intoxicated as a felony that can be punishable by up to 10 years in state prison. That penalty can be 15 years to life if the accused had a previous DUI conviction before the accident. To be prosecuted for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, the accused must be proved that he or she was intoxicated, and that they committed an act that was likely to result in the death of another person.
A gross vehicular manslaughter charge while intoxicated is a serious offense. Depending on the circumstances and the past record of the accused, the crime could be considered a second-degree murder. The experienced Ventura manslaughter defense lawyers at Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann have the resources and the skilled legal team our clients need to mount the most effective defense in order to protect their legal rights with the best results possible. Call us at (888) 744-7730 or contact us online to discuss your case today.