SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A Petaluma man with two previous DUI convictions was sentenced Friday to four years in prison for a DUI crash that nearly killed his female passenger.
Alan Arturo Tapia-Ramirez, 21, pleaded no contest in February to DUI causing great bodily injury to his passenger, 20-year-old Miriam Haydee Ortega Martinez, who miraculously survived the Aug. 13 crash near Petaluma.
Tapia-Ramirez was driving a 2013 Honda Accord west on Skillman Lane east of Liberty Road around 10:25 a.m. The Honda veered to the left across the eastbound lanes onto a dirt shoulder, became airborne and struck an iron fence, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The impact with the fence caused the Honda to overturn on its roof, the CHP said.
The fence pipe pierced the Honda’s undercarriage and impaled Martinez, who was sitting in the right front passenger seat. She underwent major surgery and her survival was in doubt, according to prosecutors.
Tapia-Ramirez freed himself from the wreckage and fled, the CHP said. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office searched the area but did not find him.
Several hours later, a female citizen informed the CHP that someone at her door, who might be the driver who fled the crash scene, was asking if he could call a taxi, according to the CHP. CHP officers responded and arrested Tapia-Ramirez for felony hit-and-run.
Tapia-Ramirez apologized to Martinez and her family in court Friday morning, his attorney Izaak Schwaiger said.
Tapia-Ramirez admitted having two DUI convictions in Marin County, Schwaiger said. They occurred on April 5 and April 16 in 2014, according to court records.
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