Driver Guilty of Vehicle Manslaughter of Local WWII Veteran
State Street scene of the traffic collision (Photo: John Palminteri / KEYT)
Source: District Attorney of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced [Thursday] that Lawrence Forgione, age 66, was found guilty of Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter.
On February 24, 2018, 90 year-old World War II Veteran and longtime Santa Barbara resident, Gilbert Ramirez, was lawfully crossing State Street in the mid-500 block crosswalk when he was struck by the vehicle driven by Mr. Forgione.
Mr. Ramirez’s death was directly caused by the defendant when he failed to stop at a red light which controlled the mid-block crosswalk. Mr. Ramirez died later that night at Cottage Hospital as a result of the injuries he sustained during the collision.
“These cases are always difficult to prosecute for a variety of reasons,” stated District Attorney Joyce Dudley, “but this thorough traffic investigation, led by Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale, instigated by Officer Adam Mik, and further supported by Principal Transportation Engineer Derrick Bailey made this prosecution possible, and the hard working jury made it successful. Additionally, Deputy District Attorney Sarah Barkley was relentless in her search for the truth and ensuring that the jury had all the facts they needed to find the defendant guilty as charged. Although Mr. Forgione clearly had no intention of killing Mr. Ramirez, driving through a red light is always inherently dangerous and at times like this – deadly.”
On April 18, 2019, after less than two hours of deliberation the jury found the defendant guilty of Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter. Sentencing is scheduled for May 28, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 1 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.