DUI driver who caused fatal crash sentenced

Posted at 1:33 PM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 21:35:43-05

SAN DIEGO - A man driving drunk when his vehicle swerved into oncoming traffic on Carmel Valley Road, causing a crash that killed a woman in another car, was sentenced Friday to six years in state prison.

Anthony Perez Rodriguez, 30, pleaded guilty last month to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury in the death of Enid Mayer-Sheaf of Chula Vista.

The 61-year-old victim was returning from a hospital where her mother-in-law had just died when the crash occurred about 6:23 p.m. last July 22 near Camino del Sur.

In court Friday, defense attorney Jan Ronis argued for probation and Deputy District Attorney Lauren Ogata argued for a 10-year prison term.

Rodriguez's blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.16 percent two hours after the crash -- twice the legal limit.

Ogata said the 0.16 level indicated the defendant's blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was between 0.18 and 0.20 percent. A level that high pointed to Rodriguez having nine to 10 standard drinks in his system, "an extraordinary amount," the prosecutor said.

"His conduct that day was dangerous to the public," Ogata told Judge David Gill. "There are absolutely no excuses."

Ronis said Rodriguez had no prior record and up until the accident had been a productive member of society.

The attorney said alcohol completely overcame his client's good judgment as he and a friend celebrated Rodriguez's 30th birthday.

"He brought this on himself," Ronis told the court. "It's been a catastrophic loss for him."

The victim's son, Christopher, and widower, Danny Sheaf, told the judge that putting Rodriguez behind bars wouldn't solve anything.

"What's been done has been done and can't be undone," Christopher Sheaf told the judge.

Danny Sheaf echoed his son's comments.

"I can't get back what's gone," he said. "A prison term is not going to be the answer. He'll come out angry at what happened and why it happened. It's not a real solution."

The defendant's friend testified in November that they took the Uber ride-hailing service to the Padres game from his home in Pacific Beach in anticipation of drinking to celebrate Rodriguez's birthday.

Orlando Castro said he and Rodriguez had three or four beers at the game, then had a beer and a shot of tequila at a nearby bar after the game as they waited for a return Uber trip back to Castro's home.

Castro said that after Uber dropped them off in Pacific Beach, he got some pizza, came home and passed out on the couch. The witness said Rodriguez wasn't there when he woke up a few hours later, noting that the last time he saw Rodriguez, the defendant was in no shape to drive.

District Attorney Investigator Michael Edwards testified that according to the event data recorder on the defendant's Fiat 500, Rodriguez was traveling eastbound at 51-52 mph -- faster than the victim's Chevrolet Nova -- when it veered left into oncoming traffic and smashed into her sedan near the bicycle lane. Mayer-Sheaf died at the scene.

"I'm just really, really sorry for everything that I've done," a tearful Rodriguez told the victim's family members. "There's no excuse for what I did. I hope one day you can forgive me."