A former San Luis Obispo resident who caused a fatal head-on collision while driving drunk from a country music concert in Pozo in 2016 was sentenced Monday to four years in state prison.
Though jurors found Allred guilty of the manslaughter charge, they rejected the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office’s more serious charge of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence — instead finding that Allred acted with ordinary negligence. That finding reduced her potential prison sentence by about six years.
On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen sentenced Allred to four years in state prison — the maximum sentence for the lesser manslaughter conviction — and ordered her to pay a yet-to-be-determined amount of restitution.
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Allred remained in San Luis Obispo County Jail Monday afternoon awaiting transfer to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation custody for placement in a state prison.
Fox, 56, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Highway 58 on April 30, 2016, with the cause of death ruled as severe blunt-force trauma injuries.
Allred suffered two fractured ankles and a compound fracture in her leg and was taken to the emergency room at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, where a blood test examined by a Sheriff’s Office lab technician came back with a 0.17 blood alcohol content. The legal limit to drive is 0.08.
Allred testified in her own defense during the trial, which also included testimony from CHP officers, lab technicians, blood experts and concertgoers who had interacted with Allred at the Pozo Stampede earlier the day of the crash.
Several people who attended the concert testified that Allred did not appear intoxicated when she was at the Pozo Saloon for the Pozo Stampede event in 2016.
While some motorists who encountered Allred on the road testified that she was driving erratically, another motorist didn’t report seeing any unusual driving.
Reaching their verdict after less than a full day of deliberations, jurors rejected allegations made by Allred’s attorney, Patrick Fisher, that a blood sample taken at a hospital after the crash was mishandled and showed a falsely elevated blood alcohol level.
Calling the prosecution’s case “dirty,” Fisher argued that inconsistencies in testimony from the CHP officer who oversaw the blood draw at the hospital and the nurse who performed it showed state protocols for DUI blood testing were violated.
In a sentencing memorandum filed Friday, Deputy District Attorney Chase Martin encouraged van Rooyen to sentenced Allred to the maximum four years, alleging she has not learned from her experience.
As evidence, Martin included a Crime Stoppers report from a former co-worker at a San Luis Obispo bar that reported that Allred was seen intoxicated and refused service at several downtown bars in February 2017. Terms of her no-bail release prohibited her from going to bars.
“Ms. Allred, in the people’s view, has not reached the sobering realization that this case is not an ‘accident.’ The collision at issue was caused by her negligence and her intoxication — she killed Ms. Fox, ” Martin wrote. “And while the criminal charges, a preliminary hearing, and a trial have not been powerful enough for her to come to grips with her responsibility, the sentence in this case will hopefully provide her with that sobering realization.”
Arguing for probation, Fisher in his sentencing brief called Allred’s crime “an isolated lapse in judgment for an otherwise disciplined, kind, law-abiding young woman,” and wrote that Allred has not had a drink since the crash. He wrote that Allred has been “shattered” by Fox’s death and “struggles with the fact that she survived the accident while Denise did not.”
“This is not a case of a belligerent drunk defiantly getting behind the wheel,” Fisher wrote. “This is a case of a kind, young woman who never wished to cause such grief and suffering to so many.”