Curtis Smith, 71, plead no contest in Santa Barbara Superior Court to charges stemming from a motorcycle accident which resulted in the death of a California Highway Patrolman.
According to police reports, 30-year-old Jarrod Martinez was riding his personal motorcycle on Steele Street in Los Olivos when the accident occurred in October 2009. Law enforcement officials believe that Smith made an improper left turn, which forced Martinez to brake hard in order to avoid colliding with his 2009 Porsche. Martinez was thrown from his 1998 Honda motorcycle into the street upon impact. Smith then struck Martinez with his car and dragged his body for approximately 45 feet before finally stopping.
Martinez, a resident of Buellton, had been assigned to the Santa Barbara California Highway Patrol office and had just finished testifying in traffic court when the incident occurred. Drugs and alcohol did not appear to be a contributing factor to the crash. After investigating the accident, police determined that Mr. Smith was at fault and referred the case to the District Attorney's office for review. Ultimately, he was charged with a single misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter.
Smith's attorney appeared in court for him to enter the no-contest plea. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 21st, at which time Smith will learn whether he faces any jail time. Representatives from the District Attorney's office believe it likely that he will receive only a probationary sentence.
In addition to the criminal penalties he now faces, Mr. Smith may also face civil penalties if Mr. Martinez's family decides to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against him. Should the court find that Mr. Martinez's death was the result of careless, reckless or negligent actions, Mr. Smith may be required to pay the family compensation for the loss of their loved one.
If someone you love was killed in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else's negligence, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney right away. The law firm of Nadrich & Cohen LLP is available to assist motorcycle accident victims and their families in the Santa Barbara area and throughout California.
Call our Injury Hotline today at 1-800-722-0765 to speak with a member of our motorcycle accident injury team. There is no charge for your initial case evaluation and you pay no fee unless we recover a money judgment on your behalf. Contact us today to get the experienced legal help you need to prove your motorcycle accident injury claim.
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