MONTECITO A Minnesota man pleaded guilty to several felony charges and was sentenced to eight years in state prison Tuesday in connection with a 2018 hit-and-run in Montecito.
Derrick Thompson, 23, pleaded guilty to evading an officer causing injury, leaving the scene of an accident causing permanent injury and conspiracy to possess marijuana for sale. He also admitted to the special allegation of personally inflicting great bodily injury causing a comatose condition due to brain injury, according to a news release from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Thompson entered his plea at the start of jury selection after prosecuting attorney Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod refused to offer a plea deal. On Tuesday, despite the prosecutor’s request for additional time in prison, Superior Court Judge Brian Hill sentenced Mr. Thompson to eight years in state prison.
Around 4 p.m. Sept. 4, 2018, the Ventura Police Department was attempting to pull over Mr. Thompson as he drove on the shoulder of Highway 101 heading south near Olive Mill Road. Mr. Thompson fled from officers and drove 45-60 mph near Butterfly Beach before losing control of the vehicle turning right from Channel Drive onto Butterfly Lane.
A tourist, who was staying at a nearby house, was struck by Mr. Thompson’s vehicle and he immediately fled the scene. The victim was in a coma for several weeks.
Inside the vehicle, officers found 17.6 pounds of marijuana and over $20,000 in cash. Mr. Thompson was located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and extradited to Santa Barbara.
“This case was a series of dangerous criminal choices that resulted in a horrendous conclusion,” District Attorney Joyce Dudley said in a statement. “The victim has made a miraculous recovery but will still live with the injuries inflicted by this defendant for the rest of her life.”
— Mitchell White