Found on the OCRegister.com and written by Sean Emery
A Tustin teen was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison after admitting to striking and killing a cyclist while driving under the influence of meth.
Sommer Nicole Gonzales, 19, agreed to a plea deal requiring her to admit to felony counts of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run, along with several misdemeanor drug possession charges, according to an Orange County District Attorney’s office statement.
A felony charge of driving under the influence was dismissed, court records show.
Joey Robinson was riding on the shoulder of Santiago Canyon Road and Loma Ridge just before 7 a.m. Feb. 2, 2014, when Gonzales made an unsafe turn in her vehicle, veered off the roadway and struck Robinsons’ bike.
Robinson, a 21-year-old Irvine resident, was thrown from the bike and pronounced dead at the scene.
Gonzales drove off before officers arrived.
A deputy spotted her vehicle a short time later, and found Gonzales trying to remove belongings from the car. She appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance, authorities said, and later tested positive for methamphetamine.
Gonzales had faced up to 15 years and eight months in prison.
Family and friends recalled Robinson as a happy person and a devoted cyclist who had gotten engaged shortly before his death. He was part of a community of cyclists, worked at local bike shops and was studying to get a business degree so he could open his own store.
Prior to Tuesday’s sentencing, family members told the judge they still have a hard time driving past the crash site, where a memorial “ghost bike” is located.