Fabian Maduena, 21, pleaded no contest to five charges in Santa Barbara Superior Court Wednesday, resulting in a pending sentence of 21 years in state prison.
Maduena was driving a vehicle while drunk on Highway 101 in March when his Mercedes struck a Volkswagen Jetta, flipping the Jetta multiple times. Goleta resident Rosario Silvestre, 41, was killed after being ejected from the Jetta’s backseat, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Maduena, from Hollister, pleaded no contest to felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, with an enhancement for fleeing the scene of a crime and two enhancements for bodily injury to more than one person. He also pleaded no contest to felony possession of marijuana for sale, felony flight from a police officer causing death or injury, driving on a suspended license and driving with no proof of insurance.
If convicted at trial, he would have faced a maximum of 21 years and eight months in state prison, according to prosecutor Joyce Dudley, so the plea bargain is almost the full extent of the punishment had he been found guilty by a jury. Maduena could, however, get out of prison after serving half of that sentence by earning credit for work time and good behavior. One of the reasons for the plea deal, according to Dudley, was so the victim’s family could begin to move on. “The family wanted to go through with this to start the healing process,” she said.
Traveling southbound on Highway 101 near Fairview Avenue, the Mercedes driven by Maduena approached the Jetta from behind. The front right portion of Maduena’s car stuck the left rear corner of the Jetta, which flipped a number of times before landing on its wheels off the road. The Jetta’s driver injured his arm in the incident and required medical attention at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.
Maduena fled the scene, but officers found his Mercedes on the right shoulder of the highway several miles down the road from the scene of the crash.
Maduena is to be sentenced October 7, at which time members of Silvestre’s family will share their thoughts. Maduena also wrote a letter of apology for his actions. “This case was nothing but tragic,” said Dudley.