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West Ventura County Focus

VENTURA : Motorist Who Killed Man Is Spared Prison

March 09, 1994|DWAYNE BRAY

A 41-year-old Oxnard man who admitted last month that he slammed his pickup truck into a disabled vehicle and killed a 24-year-old Ventura man has been spared prison.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Alan Steele on Monday instead sentenced Manuel Garcia to one year in jail and three years' probation. The sentence had been recommended by prosecutors, who said that Garcia displayed genuine remorse over his actions.

The crash occurred about 7:50 p.m. Jan. 12 on Vineyard Avenue north of Simon Way while Amanpreet Singh was pushing his pickup truck in a southbound lane, police said.

Garcia was driving south on Vineyard Avenue at a high speed when he struck Singh's truck from behind, police said. Singh, who was thrown 120 feet, died instantly.

Three weeks after the incident, Garcia pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing, sparing the victim's family the trauma of trial, Deputy Dist. Atty. Donna W. Thonis said.

Thonis also said prosecutors did not push for a prison sentence for Garcia because he had no previous criminal record and, they said, appears to be amenable to rehabilitation.

"It wasn't time for him to go to prison," Thonis said. She said Garcia had been out drinking prior to a crash and registered a .24% blood-alcohol level, three times the state's legal limit.

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