SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A man who struck and injured a woman in Montecito while fleeing law enforcement has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Derrick John Thompson, 23, pleaded guilty to evading an officer causing injury, leaving the scene of an accident causing permanent injury and conspiracy to possess marijuana for sale - all felonies.
The charges stem from an incident that took place on Sept. 4, 2018 in Montecito. Thompson and two friends were driving in the shoulder of Highway 101. Ventura police officers who were in the area attempted to stop the vehicle, but Thompson refused to stop and continued driving, eventually reaching Butterfly Beach on a busy summer day.
While trying to navigate a turn from Channel Drive onto Butterfly Lane, Thompson's vehicle hit a 58-year-old North Carolina woman who was staying at a nearby house.
Thompson then fled the scene on foot while the woman remained at the scene, seriously injured. His two passengers, Diamonte Markel Hickerson of Newport, Minnesota, and Justyn Desean Sanders of Maplewood Minnesota, were detained by police.
Officers searched the vehicle and found more than 17 pounds of marijuana and over $20,000 in cash.
Thompson was eventually identified as the suspect and was arrested and extradited from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Meanwhile, the woman that was hit by his vehicle fought for her life while in a coma for several weeks.
Thompson pleaded guilty to charges on Jan. 26 after prosecutors refused to offer a plea deal. On Tuesday, despite prosecutors asking for additional prison time, Thompson was sentenced to eight years in prison.
“This case was a series of dangerous criminal choices that resulted in a horrendous conclusion," Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said in a press release. "The victim has made a miraculous recovery but will still live with the injuries inflicted by this defendant for the rest of her life.”