Crime

Driver who severely injured SLO pedestrian had warrants for failing to appear in court

Christopher Boyle, 53, of San Luis Obispo, allegedly hit 26-year-old Lilianne Tang with his car on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.
Christopher Boyle, 53, of San Luis Obispo, allegedly hit 26-year-old Lilianne Tang with his car on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.

A San Luis Obispo man whose car struck and seriously injured a pedestrian while allegedly under the influence of drugs pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence of drugs causing injury and driving on a suspended license.

Court records show that Christopher Lee Boyle of San Luis Obispo had been cited and released from custody two days before the crash on a warrant for repeatedly failing to appear in court.

A car driven by Boyle, 53, allegedly struck Lilianne Tang near the intersection of Monterey Street and Johnson Avenue at about 7 a.m. Nov. 9, according to a news release from the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Emergency responders found Tang lying in the intersection near a vehicle, unconscious and unresponsive, police said.

tang screen.JPG
A GoFundMe account set up by the family of Lilianne Tang, who was allegedly hit and injured by a car driven by Christopher Boyle, had accrued $25,607 of a $45,000 goal as of Monday evening. Screenshot

Tang was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and later flown to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. On Monday afternoon, a Fresno Community Regional Hospital spokeswoman said Lilianne Tang was in fair condition and is no longer in the intensive care unit.

Police said Boyle was be under the influence of non-specified drugs at the time of the crash and was allegedly driving on a suspended license.

Tang, 26, is a social justice coordinator at Cal Poly’s Cross Cultural Centers, the university confirmed. A GoFundMe account to raise money for Tang’s medical treatment had raised $25,607 of a $45,000 goal as of Monday evening.

Boyle, whose address is listed as the Prado Day Center in San Luis Obispo in court records, remains in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. His public defender, Ron Crawford, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

According to court records, Boyle should not have been driving that day. In addition to having a suspended license, Boyle had failed to appear in court three times on an ongoing drug possession case, but had been released from County Jail each time on a promise to appear in court.

Records show Boyle has had three other minor misdemeanor cases filed against him since 2013 — two of them in 2018 for possessing methamphetamine. In both cases, Boyle was accepted into a pre-trial diversion program.

Boyle was instated into the program on June 13, but failed to appear to a court hearing eight days later.

Following another failure to appear in August, Superior Court Judge Jesse Marino issued a $5,000 warrant for his arrest and revoked his participation in the program.

But because the warrant was a “cite release” and didn’t designate that Boyle be held in jail until a court hearing, Boyle was released from County Jail on a promise to appear in court.

When he failed to appear again in October, Marino issued a $15,000 warrant. Again, Boyle was cited and released from jail when he was arrested Nov. 7 — two days before the crash.

According to court records, Boyle requested to be released on his own recognizance at his arraignment Nov. 15. Superior Court Judge Giner Garrett denied that motion.

Boyle is scheduled to be back in court Nov. 27.

Street safety improvements have been completed along Laurel Lane which include reducing the crossing distance for pedestrians, removing a travel lane so pedestrians only cross three legs of traffic rather than four and a high-visibility crosswalk.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct an error. Boyle most recent warrant was not active at the time of his Nov. 9 arrest; he was cited and released two days prior.

Matt Fountain: 781-7909, @mattfountain1
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