Lawrence Forgione on trial for vehicular manslaughter in Santa Barbara Superior Court. (April 5th 2019) | Credit: Paul Wellman

The Santa Barbara Superior Court trial is underway for Iron Chef Lawrence Forgione, charged for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. Around 6:50 p.m. on February 24, 2018, Forgione struck and killed Gilbert Ramirez in a crosswalk on the 500 block of State Street. Forgione has pleaded not guilty and is being represented by Attorney Meghan Behrens. Sarah Barkley is leading the case for the office of the District Attorney.

Barkley submitted a witness list that included Santa Barbara Police Department officers, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office deputy coroner, and civilians. According to court documents, officers obtained surveillance footage from a nearby restaurant. “The footage shows the defendant driving north in his vehicle and failing to stop at the red light signaling the mid-block crosswalk, “according to the document. “The footage clearly shows Mr. Ramirez crossing in the crosswalk at the same time the defendant’s vehicle fails to stop for the red light.”

The defense’s witness list also included city and county law-enforcement officers, civilians, and a scientist specializing in human behavior with experience in collisions and driver perception and response.  

Forgione is not in custody and was released on his own recognizance. The trial is being heard by Judge James Herman and is scheduled to continue throughout the week.


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