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Driver pleads guilty in Ramona hit-and-run crash

Posted at 1:51 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 16:51:39-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (CNS) -- A man who struck and seriously injured a bicyclist in Ramona last fall pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges of reckless driving resulting in serious injury and vandalism.

Chase Edward Richard, 35, admitted hitting Michelle Scott from behind on state Route 67 near Dye Road with his Ford Edge last Oct. 2. Scott was struck around 6:15 a.m., and was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido with serious injuries.

She remained at the hospital for about two months before being transferred to a Poway nursing care facility, where she remains under full-time care, recovering from the brain injury she suffered in the crash, according to the Ramona Sentinel.

Richard was arrested less than a week later. The California Highway Patrol said a tip from the public led investigators to Richard's damaged SUV in the garage of his Ramona residence.

Richard agreed to a three-year, eight-month term that will include two years in local custody and 20 months of mandatory supervision.

Per the terms of his plea agreement, Richard will also perform 200 hours of community service, a component of his sentence that Deputy District Attorney Valerie Ryan said was important to Scott's family.

The victim volunteered with multiple local programs, including the local Community Emergency Response Team -- or CERT -- which trains and assists community members in response to emergency situations like natural disasters.

Ryan said Scott's husband, Don, hopes that Richard can "do what he can to give back to the community because Mrs. Scott can no longer do that."

The prosecutor said Don Scott is "hoping through this time on mandatory supervision that Mr. Richard can change and alter his behavior" and "contribute to the community" once he is released from custody.

"There's a lot of graciousness and generosity of heart in the Scott family, and they are hoping and looking for Mr. Richard to do better" Ryan said.

Sentencing is slated for July 28.