Lakeside man pleads not guily in head-on collision that killed 74-year-old driver
Kenneth Crane died in Aug. 29 crash
Last Updated: 89 days ago
EL CAJON, Calif. - A 19-year-old Lakeside man accused of causing a head-on crash in Ramona that killed a 74-year-old man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and driving on the wrong side of a divided highway causing death.
Garrett Michael Sparks was arrested shortly after the collision, which occurred on San Vicente Road south of Warnock Drive about 7:40 p.m. Aug. 29, according to the California Highway Patrol. He posted $50,000 bail and was ordered to return to court today for arraignment.
Sparks told authorities he took his eyes off the road for at least 10 seconds while he was reaching for items that had fallen on his truck's floorboard from the passenger seat, the CHP reported.
His southbound 2007 Ford Ranger drifted into oncoming traffic at about 50 mph and stuck a northbound 2000 Ford Ranger driven by Kenneth Frederick Crane of Ramona.
Crane was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office. Sparks was uninjured.
Investigators determined alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
According to traffic studies, drivers who take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds at 55 mph can travel the length of a football field. Sparks may have doubled that distance.
Judge Charles Ervin scheduled a readiness conference for Sept. 20 and a preliminary hearing for Oct. 10.
Sparks' attorney told 10News he is digging through the facts of the case to determine how suspected distracted driving can be considered a felony without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Sparks is free on $50,000 bond.
Copyright CNS contributed to this report