According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, 23 year old Robert John Greaney from Costa Mesa, was sentenced for killing an 81 year old jogger in Newport Beach to one year in prison and five years formal probation. Greaney pleaded guilty to one felony count each for driving under the influence, vehicular manslaughter, and an infraction for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
Following a plea deal, he admitted to a sentence-enhancing charge of inflicting great bodily harm. It is amazing that someone on drugs or driving drunk can kill someone and only do one year in prison.
The fatal accident
The fatal accident took place in June last year on Pacific Coast Highway, west of Morning Canyon Drive. Greaney swerved his Ford F-150 truck into the bike lane, and struck 81-year-old retired orthodontist and avid marathon runner Edward Salkin, who was killed as a result of the impact. His blood alcohol content was over twice the legal limit at 15%.
Toxicology reports indicate he tested positive for two other intoxicating substances, Xanax and marijuana. According to the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD), after the accident, Greaney displayed signs of intoxication. His BAC level after two hours after the crash registered .12%.
Rehab program and custody credits
Greaney’s DUI attorney said his client was distressed over the deadly accident. The lighter sentence came after he accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald. His attorney said he was eligible to be set free immediately after having served sufficient time under the rehabilitation program ordered by the court.
However, he agreed to surrender the custody credits. While prosecutors pushed for a higher bail, the judge’s decision to make the rehabilitation program mandatory made the defendant’s participation in the program eligible for custody credits.
Greaney’s DUI attorney said his client wasn’t aware he had struck Salkin, thinking he had hit a box. He argued that the victim was jogging in a bike lane even though there was a sidewalk. He also claims that Greaney pulled over to assess the damage to his pickup truck and rushed to the victim’s aid on seeing him. Earlier, prosecutors raised an objection to the plea deal. Relatives of the victim’s family requested an extended prison sentence.
Santa Ana DUI attorneys highlight California vehicular manslaughter laws
According to Santa Ana DUI attorneys, under California DUI laws, any person who drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes the death of a person(s) is liable to be charged with manslaughter, vehicular homicide, or second degree murder. Intoxicated drivers who unlawfully kill another person without gross negligence can face a prison sentence ranging from 16 months to 4 years.
The jail term extends to 6 or 10 years if found guilty of driving intoxicated with gross negligence. Individuals with previous DUI offences charged with manslaughter could serve anywhere from 15 years to life in prison. Under the Vehicle Code, the punishment can be enhanced if the individual refuses a BAC test or has a BAC of 0.20 or more, or is travelling with a child under the age of 14.