Man sentenced to 183 days in jail for 2018 vehicular manslaughter deaths of Bay Area CHP officer and another man

Sean Matthew Walker —  who slammed his vehicle into and killed California Highway Patrol Officer Kirk Griess of Vacaville and a Philippines national, Jaime Bueza Manuel, while they stood during a traffic stop on a westbound Interstate 80 shoulder in August 2018 in Fairfield — will do at least 183 days in Solano County Jail.

Judge Tim Kam, after hearing several victim impact statements and a presentencing report during Walker’s sentencing hearing Wednesday afternoon, pronounced the sentence after a brief recess in the proceedings in Department 7 in the Justice Building in Vallejo.

Sean Matthew Walker 

The sentence also includes 182 days in an “alternative sentencing program,” a community-based corrections program that allows a defendant, once convicted, to serve out the court-ordered sentence in such a program rather than jail.

Kam also ordered Walker, a 39-year-old Rocklin man, to pay fines and restitution, perform 160 hours of community service, and participate in the CHP-Solano’s “Start Smart” program, a class that covers safe driving habits, and the CHP’s Adult Distracted Drivers program, which educates the public about the hazards associated with distracted driving.

Additionally, Walker will not be permitted to use marijuana unless authorized by a physician; will be subject to drug-and-alcohol testing; be required to complete an unspecified counseling program; drive only with a valid license.

Kam also ordered him to report to County Jail in four weeks to begin his time behind bars in Fairfield.

The sentencing comes after Deputy District Attorney Haroon Khan and Walker’s defense attorney, Guyton Jinkerson, agreed to a plea deal on July 13.

Walker pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter by driving in a negligent or unlawful manner, not amounting to a felony but without gross negligence, and causing the death of another person. In such cases, the seriousness of the crime and punishment depend on the degree of negligence involved, that is, whether the driver was intoxicated and the driver’s prior criminal record. Walker was not intoxicated at the time of the collision but he was suffering what he thought were symptoms of a heart attack, was using his cellphone at one point to learn of them, and did not pull over during the time he drove on I-80 from Vacaville to Fairfield.

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Among the victim impact statements was one from Griess’ parents, Helen and Sheldon Griess, which Khan read to the court, with more than two dozen people in the public gallery, including several Griess family members, a spokesman for Manuel, and several CHP officers, among them CHP-Solano commander Capt. Steve West.

Griess’ parents noted that their son was a Minnesota native and a Marine Corps veteran “who had a special gift of lighting up a room” when entering.

“Our hearts were broken that day,” the statement continued, and, reading, Khan added, “We miss him every day. The pain does not go away.”

Speaking on behalf of the Manuel family, Ricardo Naval, standing at the prosecutor’s table, said Manuel’s death left “a void … that can never be filled.”

Weeping and, at times, struggling to speak as he spoke into a microphone, Naval …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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