A Newport Beach man will spend a year in custody and four years on probation for a 2009 car crash at Hearst Ranch that killed a passenger and injured two others.
San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy sentenced Kurt Naegele on Friday for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence and causing injury to two people.
Naegele crashed a car while driving drunk on a runway at the ranch, killing Darren William Dahlman of Pasadena.
Naegele can apply for home detention in lieu of spending the year in jail. He will begin serving his sentence Sept. 7.
Duffy said Naegele used “terrible, terrible judgment” when he got behind the wheel of the car, an act that had profound consequences for everyone involved. “This is one of the most tragic cases I’ve seen in 20 years,” he said.
At the sentencing hearing Friday, Dahlman’s parents and widow lashed out at Naegele. They said he was heartless for not accepting responsibility immediately and even claiming that one of the injured men, Ryan Robert Doheny, was driving the car.
The case dragged on for 2 1⁄2 years before Naegele pleaded no contest to the charges, thereby admitting he had been driving the car.
“All of our lives have been shattered by your stupidity,” Doheny said in a letter to the court.
Naegele declined to make a statement at his sentencing. His attorney, Patrick Harris, said Naegele had blacked out at the time of the crash and could not remember what happened.
The many delays in the case were part of Naegele’s thorough defense and not intended to cause undue suffering for the victims and their families, Harris said. Further delays were caused by conflicting statements by Doheny and improper storage of the car, which caused some of the evidence to be lost, Harris said.
“I can’t fathom the suffering they’ve gone through. I can’t,” Harris said of the families.
Naegele, Dahlman, Doheny and the third victim, Christopher Pennell, went for a joyride in Naegele’s Range Rover on the ranch on the day of the incident. According to a CHP investigation, the car reached a speed of 105 mph before going off the runway and down a steep embankment. Naegele’s blood-alcohol level was estimated to be 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit.
Duffy gave Naegele four years of probation because of the tragic outcome of the accident. Three years is the normal term of probation, but the victims had asked that Naegele be given five years.