A jury found a Cambria man guilty Friday of causing his friend’s death when he crashed an all-terrain vehicle into a tree while intoxicated.
Garrett John Taylor, 30, was convicted of a felony count of vehicular manslaughter and a felony count of vehicle theft in the July 2012 crash that killed Justin Evans, 20, of Cambria.
In the early morning hours of July 14, the men left a birthday party in Cambria on an ATV stolen from the party hosts. Deputy District Attorney Lee Cunningham argued during trial that Taylor took the wheel, intending to drive Evans home on Highways 1 and 46.
At some point, Cunningham argued, Taylor lost control and struck a tree. Evans’ body was found on the ground outside the passenger side of the vehicle; he died of multiple blunt force trauma injuries. Taylor suffered a fractured spine and a concussion.
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Taylor’s attorney, Mitch Haddad, argued that Evans was the driver and that both men were thrown from the vehicle, but that Taylor regained consciousness and tried to start the ATV to get help before passing out inside. Haddad suggested CHP officers who responded to the scene were too quick to implicate Taylor as the driver.
Following the verdict, Taylor was taken into custody and remanded to the San Luis Obispo County Jail.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.