Judge Grants Diversion for Driver Charged in Crash That Killed Motorcyclist Near Buellton in 2020 | Local News

ByTommie C. Curtis

Jul 19, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Santa Barbara County Exceptional Courtroom judge in Santa Maria this 7 days granted diversion for a driver billed with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the circumstance of a lethal crash involving a motorcyclist near Buellton in December 2020.

Leslie Leaney, 74, was billed months immediately after the crash that killed a Paso Robles female, Nichole Grantham, 31, on Freeway 101 in close proximity to Jonata Park Road north of Buellton. The judge’s ruling usually means Leaney can avoid jail time and a conviction if he satisfies the phrases of the diversion.

California Highway Patrol officers said Leaney, driving a Volkswagen eastbound on Jonata Road, crossed the southbound lanes of Freeway 101 at Jonata and stopped in the centre divider to enter the northbound lanes at about midday on Dec. 19, 2020.

Leaney reportedly turned into the remaining lane, then merged into the appropriate lane, instantly into the route of Grantham’s northbound 2017 Harley-Davidson motorbike, which slammed into the rear of the Volkswagen, the CHP reported.

Grantham was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Clinic but died hrs later on from her accidents.

In addition to the a person misdemeanor charge for motor vehicle manslaughter without gross negligence, Leaney also gained an infraction accusing him of failing to generate within a lane.

Following asking a decide to dismiss the charges, Leaney’s lawyer, Neil Levinson, this week succeeded in receiving Decide James Voysey to agree that the defendant’s scenario was eligible beneath a comparatively new misdemeanor diversion program.

Assembly Bill 3234 took result in January 2021 allowing judges to grant diversion above the objections of prosecuting attorneys and devoid of demanding a guilty or no contest plea. The moment a defendant completes the conditions of the diverson, the court can dismiss the situation, effectively erasing the crime and major some to get in touch with the regulation a “Get Out of Jail Free of charge Card.”

A scenario can be diverted for up to 24 months, and the choose can attach phrases and disorders appropriate to the certain case.

Leaney’s legal professional explained the crash could have happened to anybody and requested that the judge grant diversion, trying to find fast dismissal of the case.

“The simple fact that Mr. Leaney has no prior criminal history, the absence of any prison intent, and the decedant’s family’s categorical want for this scenario to not be prosecuted, establish that continued prosecution of this case would serve no societal function,” Leavinson wrote.

He also famous the London-born Leaney’s prior services in the Royal Air Drive and concerns that a criminal report would cause him to get rid of a contract with the Cayman Islands.

Leaney has a lengthy record as a pioneer in the diving neighborhood, including co-founding the Historic Diving Society United states of america and other companies. He also has acquired awards, achievements and accolades between the diving community.

In a created reaction to the protection motion trying to get diversion, Deputy District Legal professional Andrew Jang opposed the ask for furthermore objected to immediate dismissal. Pace limitations not only halt excessive rushing but also intention to avert sluggish-going cars on highways, Jang stated.

“Furthermore, not only did the defendant vacation at exceptionally unsafe reduced speeds on the freeway, but also merged into the appropriate most lane devoid of appropriately switching lanes and examining for website traffic,” Jang wrote. “For the target that day, the defendant’s determination to not comply with the regulations was catastrophic.”

At the urging of the prosecution if the choose granted diversion, Voysey provided a  24-thirty day period time period that needs Leaney to obey all website traffic guidelines and take a driver’s basic safety training course, Deputy District Lawyer Madison Whitmore explained. 

If Leaney completes diversion, the circumstance would be dismissed soon after the 24 months, Whitmore included.

— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be achieved at .(JavaScript ought to be enabled to look at this e-mail handle). Observe Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Hook up with Noozhawk on Fb.