Defendant in Fatal Car Surfing Case Pleads No Contest
Second Degree Murder Charge Dropped
Lanie Tyrone Richardson, the defendant in a fatal car surfing case out of Montecito, pled no contest to a number of felony charges.
District Attorney Joyce Dudley made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
The 29-year-old defendant pled to committing gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and admitted to personally inflicting great bodily injury to a second victim and to having a prior felony conviction.
Richardson has been held on one million dollars bail for causing the death of 26-year-old Allison Meadows and injuring 25-year-old Lindsey Keebler while car surfing along East Valley Road in June of 2012.
The C-H-P says Richardson was behind the wheel of the vehicle involved.
"This is not a case that merits criminal prosecution," said Rafael Amezaga, his defense attorney, a month after Richardson's arrest. "It was a tragic accident involving young people who made very poor decisions."
Richardson pled to misdemeanor driving on a suspended license as a result of a prior DUI conviction.
The defendant will be sentenced to 14 years in state prison on January 9, 2014, in Department 11, the Honorable Jean Dandona presiding.
A count of second degree murder was dismissed.
Although Richardson's sentence would have been longer if convicted of this charge (15-life), both the victims and the investigating law enforcement officers felt under these tragic circumstances, this agreement was in the best interest of justice.
Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen stated, "This case demonstrates the significant consequences that can result for those who choose to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs."
District Attorney Dudley added, "The legal responsibility for engaging in risky or reckless driving always falls on the driver. This case serves as a devastating reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, especially how alcohol or drugs critically distorts someone's judgment."
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