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Santa Barbara - South County

Santa Barbara hit-and-run driver sentenced to jail

Santa Barbara Police Department

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The driver involved in a hit-and-run that injured many people was sentenced to jail on Tuesday morning.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced that Ricardo Sanchez, 38, was sentenced to 19 years and 4 months in state prison on Monday.

Judge Brian E. Hill of the Santa Barbara Superior Court made the sentence.

Back in January 2019, Sanchez led police on a pursuit after failing to surrender to an arrest warrant on multiple narcotic offenses.

Sanchez led police on a chase throughout downtown Santa Barbara.

During the pursuit Sanchez backed into a female detective and crashed into another car that then crashed into a grandmother and her young grandchild on the sidewalk.

The grandmother suffered multiple fractures and contusions while the 10 month-old infant suffered a broken rib, contusions and subdural bleeding.  

Sanchez fled the scene of the crash but was apprehended several blocks away hiding under a porch.  

Police say they found of bear spray, .22 caliber ammunition and 6.9 ounces of methamphetamine on Sanchez.

On January 12, 2021, Sanchez pled guilty to numerous felony counts and allegations including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, driving while under the influence of a controlled substance causing injury, evading peace officers in a motor vehicle with reckless disregard, fleeing the scene of a collision causing injury and possession of methamphetamine for sale.

Sanchez also admitted to the enhancements of: personally inflicting great bodily injury, inflicting injury upon multiple victims while driving under the influence, having multiple prior DUI convictions and having a prior conviction for a previous serious/violent felony, as well as having a prior strike conviction.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod sought the maximum sentence on the charges, which was 28 years 4 months in state prison due to Sanchez' criminal history.

District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley stated, “This case illustrates a series of horrific criminal choices made by the defendant that led to this terrifying and predictable violent conclusion. Still, due to the extraordinary care and knowledge of Santa Barbara’s emergency medical team and the medical treatment that followed, the victims have mostly recovered from their physical injuries.”

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Julia Nguyen

Julia Nguyen is an assignment editor and social media coordinator for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Julia, click here.

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