An Arroyo Grande woman with a history of DUI arrests pleaded no contest Wednesday to second-degree murder and felony hit-and-run in the 2014 death of bicyclist Glen Harley Fulton.
Michelle Hart, 46, originally faced felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury and leaving the scene of an accident, as well as a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license.
Following the plea, Hart will face a maximum of 19 years to life in state prison when she is sentenced on June 29 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, according to a statement by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.
Hart struck and killed Fulton, 48, of Arroyo Grande, with her Honda Accord as Fulton was riding a bicycle south on Los Berros Road near Nipomo on Oct. 1, 2014.
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According to the California Highway Patrol, Hart hit the rear of Fulton’s bicycle, causing him to be ejected onto the west shoulder of the road. He suffered fatal head injuries despite wearing a helmet. Hart fled the scene but was soon apprehended with the help of eyewitnesses.
The District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that Hart had been convicted of driving under the influence twice within 10 years of the fatal crash. In a February 2015 preliminary hearing in the case, a CHP officer testified that Hart was wearing an ankle monitor as part of her probation for one of those cases when she hit Fulton. Following the crash, investigators allegedly found the presence of alcohol, methamphetamine and the active ingredient in marijuana in her blood.
Hart has remained in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail since her arrest.