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

Last month, famous chef Larry Forgione was sentenced to 60 days in jail for killing 90-year-old pedestrian Gilbert Ramirez during a February 2018 accident on State Street. The chef — who’s been hailed as the “godfather of American cuisine” and appeared on the popular television show Iron Chef — also must complete three years of probation and 200 hours of community service and pay $345 in fines and will have his driver’s license suspended for three years. 

“I believe I can speak for not only myself but also for my sisters when I say that we believe that justice has been served,” said Armando G. Ramirez, the son of Gilbert. His father was on his way to dancing at the James Joyce when he was struck in the crosswalk after Forgione ran a red light while looking at a digital device. “Nothing we can do or say can bring Dad back to us, so in the grand scheme of things, Mr. Forgione has to get on with his life as do we.” 

Gilbert Ramirez outside Santa Barbara High School in 2017

Ramirez was confused by the delay of the sentence — Forgione won’t start serving until the end of December — but he trusts the system. Forgione tried to fight the charges by arguing that the light was not red, but the jury did not believe that version of events and found him guilty. 

“Closure of this, as is common in other areas of one’s life, is how we as humans and as a family can heal,” said the younger Ramirez. “God bless to all those who have been there throughout the course of this ordeal.”

The sentencing date was June 25, 2019, which would have been Gilbert Ramirez’s 92nd birthday. Forgione had been facing a 12-month maximum sentence.


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