Is a single year in county jail really enough for an underage drinking and driving spree that injured two cyclists — nearly taking the life of one and leaving him with life-altering injuries?
Sources tell me that a plea deal has been reached in the case of Jaclyn Andrea Garcia, the 19-year old driver accused of plowing into a group of cyclists early on the morning of Sunday, April 3rd — while still drunk from the night before.
In fact, I’m told that at the time of the 7:15 am collision, she still had a BAC of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit.
Reportedly, she will be sentenced to one year in jail, though current jail overcrowding conditions mean she’s likely to serve less than six months.
Maybe far less.
In addition, she’ll face three years probation after her release, including a requirement that she wear the SCRAM alcohol monitor made famous by Lindsey Lohan. We can only hope it will be more effective than it was with her more famous compatriot.
She also have her driver’s license suspended for just one year. This despite at least four moving violations in the last three years, as well as allegedly totaling her car in a previous collision.
Hopefully, it won’t be the year she’ll be in jail and can’t drive anyway.
Meanwhile, I’m told that her primary victim, 49-year old Adam Rybicki of Rancho Palos Verdes, continues to progress, albeit slowly, and faces a long, hard road to recovery; it remains to be seen whether he will ever regain even a semblance of the life he lived before Garcia ran him down.
Those with whom I’ve discussed the case consider the penalties likely to be imposed on Garcia to be very light given the extreme severity of Rybicki’s injuries. However, I’m told that the D.A. handling the case had his hands tied by the penalties allowed under the law for a first time vehicular felon.
One attorney who weighed in on the plea deal said that under current state law someone has to die before a heavy prison sentence can be imposed; from what I understand, Adam Rybicki came very, very close.
In fact, he probably would have if there hadn’t been an orthopedic surgeon on ride.
But at least she’ll have a felony conviction on her record, which will follow her for the rest of her life.
Meanwhile, Garcia has written a letter asking for leniency, which has been highly criticized by some who’ve seen it; at least some observers accuse her of failing to take responsibility for her actions and seeing herself as the victim.
“I ended up being involved in an accident where two bicyclists were injured.” (Garcia)
Beyond comprehension. She is the victim here?!? Accident?!? This is a @##$$%^^&&* felony!!! Two bicyclists were injured!?! With a blood alcohol level of 0.15, she drove a vehicle directly into the path of law abiding cyclists and assaulted them with her vehicle.
“One thing that people have said about me is the fact that I was emotionless at the time of the accident. I was far from that.”
Well, yes, people did observe that appearance. She may be on the mark here. She was beyond emotionless; she was nearly unconscious! That, however, does not constitute emotion. Still no responsibility. She certainly did not offer any help at the scene of the accident; compassion, not hardly.
The case has been continued until Monday, September 12th at 8:30 am in Department 5, Room 403 of the Inglewood Superior Court.
At that time, she is expected to change her plea to guilty, and the court will hear statements from the victims — or in Rybicki’s case, his family members — and other interested parties.
And before the day is over, Jaclyn Andrea Garcia is likely to be sentenced for failing to kill Adam Rybicki, if only barely.
Whether justice will be served depends entirely on your perspective.
In another case, Victims Impact Statements will be heard on Wednesday, September 7th in the case of Stephanie Segal, charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run in the death of cyclist James Laing; Segal reportedly had a BAC of .26 at the time of the collision. The hearing is now scheduled for 10 am — I’d previously reported it would start at 8:30 am — in Department 1 of the Malibu Courthouse, 23525 Civic Center Way.
Cyclists are urged to attend wearing bike jerseys to show support for Laing and his family; however, long pants are required in the courtroom.