Driver in Fatal Crash Changes Plea
Plea agreement reached in so-called car surfing tragedy
A car surfing accident on East Valley Road near Montecito in 2012 left 26-year-old Allison Meadows dead and 25-year-old Lindsey Keebler injured.
Prosecutors had charged the driver of the Toyota Forerunner on which the women were surfing with second degree murder, but today they announced a plea agreement.
Lanie Tyrone Richardson, 29, of Santa Barbara, pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He also admitted to causing great bodily injury and driving on a suspended license.
Rather than facing a 15-year-to-life sentence, Richardson will face a fixed sentence of 14 years in state prison when he is sentenced on January 9, 2014.
Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen said the surviving victim won't be called to testify during a trial.
But one close friend of Meadows was anxious to find out exactly what happened.
Jomy Smith does not feel justice is being served with the plea agreement. She said Richardson's record of multiple DUIs and a sex and drug conviction should have carried more weight.
Smith said friends placed a plaque in honor of Meadows in a Paso Robles park where she grew up. Smith is now trying to raise funds to buy a seat in her name at the Santa Barbara Bowl where she loved to hear live music. Those who want to make a donation can go to www.sbbowl.com/NameASeat.htm? and mention Allison J. Meadows with the donation.
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