Benny Contreras Sentenced
updated: Sep 18, 2012, 1:06 PM
Source: Office of the District Attorney
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that
Benny Contreras, was sentenced to three years formal probation for committing
the crime of Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter. Although the district attorney
and the victim's family requested that the 84-year old defendant be sentenced to
120 days of house arrest, Judge Bullard stated that he did not think custody
time was appropriate due to the lack of aggravating factors, such as speeding
and cell phone use. Instead Judge Bullard sentenced him to 100 hours of
community service and ordered him to pay restitution to the victim's family. His
driver's license was also suspended for three years.
The charges stem from a traffic collision that occurred on April 29, 2012, on
southbound Route 1 between Santa Maria and Lompoc. James Hamlin, a 58-year old
Santa Maria man, was killed as a result of the collision. Mr. Hamlin was legally
riding his bicycle on the shoulder when the collision occurred.
During the powerful and compelling sentencing proceedings today, a video was
shown of Mr. Hamlin's life. Craig Hamlin spoke about his brother and a letter
from their mother was read to the court.
In response to today's sentencing District Attorney Joyce Dudley stated the
following, "No one involved in this collision can escape a pervasive sense of
loss and pain. This is a tragic reminder that automobiles remain deadly weapons
and all drivers must be vigilant in their attentiveness."
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