Lawrence Forgione will be charged with one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter for causing the death of 90-year-old Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.
Forgione was driving his car on State Street between Haley and Cota streets when he struck Ramirez, who was crossing the street at one of the mid-block crosswalks around 7 p.m. Initial reports suggested that Forgione was looking at a mapping device in his car when the wreck occurred.
Ramirez, who is well known in Santa Barbara as a World War II veteran, rare plant collector, and swing dancer, later died at the hospital from the traumatic injuries. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people on Thursday at St. Raphael Catholic Church.
Forgione, who stopped after the accident and cooperated with authorities on the investigation, is a famous chef who has competed on the popular Iron Chef television series. [CLARIFICATION: His son, Marc Forgione, is a regular on the show, but Larry Forgione joined him in a previous battle and prevailed.] He’s been called the “Godfather of American Cuisine” and is credited with helping start the farm-to-table movement. He’s been named “chef of the year” by both the Culinary Institute of America and the James Beard Foundation.
He will be arraigned on April 9 in Santa Barbara Superior Court.