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January 16, 2021

Ventura County man receives prison sentence for fatal crash near San Lucas

SAN LUCAS — Kyle Anthony Griffith, 40, a resident of Ventura County, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on Dec. 16 for causing a fatal collision that killed a 35-year-old King City woman last November.

On Nov. 3, 2019, around 7:30 p.m., Griffith was driving his vehicle on State Route 198 in the westbound lane, just east of Pine Valley Road. He was accompanied by his friend Jarrod Folks, 35, who was seated in the front passenger seat. 

At the same time, Atilano Garcia, 42, and his wife Nazaria Garcia, 35, of King City were out for a drive on the same road, heading eastbound.

Griffith crossed over the double yellow lines into the eastbound lane in an attempt to pass three vehicles in front of him, causing a head-on collision with the Garcias’ vehicle. 

Nazaria Garcia was declared dead at the scene due to major blunt force trauma. Atilano Garcia, who survived the collision, also suffered major blunt force trauma, a mangled arm, numerous lacerations all over his body, and he was struggling to maintain consciousness when officers arrived. 

Griffith’s passenger, Folks, suffered a dislocated hip and lacerations to his face and arm. Griffith’s own injuries consisted of a broken toe on his left foot, lacerations to his face and arms and a bruised chest. 

At 10:38 p.m., Griffith submitted to a blood draw that showed he had been driving with a blood alcohol level of over 0.14%. In an interview, Griffith told officers that he drove that night despite knowing that he was under the influence of alcohol.

At the time of the collision, Griffith was on misdemeanor DUI probation from a 2014 conviction that included a condition to that he abstain from alcohol consumption. He had also suffered a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction in 2012. 

Under California Law, an individual who drives while impaired by drugs or alcohol and who kills someone can be charged with murder if that person intentionally drives under the influence while knowing it is dangerous to human life.

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