A Cambria man accused of drunken driving and causing the death of his 20-year-old friend in an accident on a rural road north of Cambria entered a plea of not guilty in a San Luis Obispo courtroom this week.
Garrett John Taylor, 28, faces felony charges in connection with the all-terrain-vehicle accident that killed Justin Evans on July 15.
Charges against Taylor include vehicular homicide while intoxicated; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and having prior DUI convictions. The charges are made more serious or “enhanced” because of prior convictions, causing great bodily injury and having a blood-alcohol count of 0.15 percent or more. The legal limit for an adult driver is 0.08 percent.
Taylor is also charged with taking the 2007 Yamaha Rhino without the consent of its owner, Tim Winsor.
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He entered his plea in Superior Court on Thursday.
According to friends and the initial CHP investigations, Taylor and Evans left a large birthday party at Winsor’s ranch in the hills near San Simeon Creek. Witnesses reported seeing Taylor driving the two-seat ATV.
It appears that, while trying to make the curve on San Simeon Creek Road at about 4 a.m., the ATV drifted onto the shoulder, where it collided with an oak tree.
Following a lengthy investigation of physical evidence, Taylor was arrested at his home south of Cambria and taken to San Luis Obispo County Jail. He bailed out Jan. 25.