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Serial Drunk Driver Facing 13 Years in Prison

Nicholas Hart Hit and Killed a Montecito Evacuee Soon After the Debris Flow

Nicholas Hart | Credit: Courtesy

A serial drunk driver who hit and killed a 91-year-old Montecito evacuee shortly after the debris flow will be sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison, according to court documents.

The driver, 27-year-old Goleta resident Nicholas Hart, struck George Theodore “Ted” Johnson ― a Casa Dorinda resident who’d evacuated with his wife ahead of the January 9 storm to the downtown La Quinta Hotel ― in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of State and Micheltorena streets on January 23. Hart fled the scene but was arrested a short time later. His blood alcohol content was 0.24, over three times the legal limit.

Police said Hart was speeding on a suspended license and has two prior DUIs on his record. Officers searching his car found a half-full bottle of vodka in the center console that he’d been drinking prior to driving that night.

Hart recently pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts, and his sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 5.

Johnson was a pioneer of the U.S. ski industry who founded Utah’s Snowbird resort in 1971. The Silver Fox, one of Snowbird’s iconic runs, is named in his honor, and he was twice featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

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