Drunken Driver Sentenced For Fatally Striking StudentNovember 6, 2006 No Comments
SAN DIEGO — A 18-year-old driver whose blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal driving limit when he ran over and killed a University of San Diego law student in Pacific Beach, then drove off was sentenced Monday to seven years in state prison.
Daniel Scott Hall, now 19, pleaded guilty on Aug. 23 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run resulting in death. His blood-alcohol level was 0.23 percent after the accident, prosecutors said. The legal driving limit is 0.08.
Hall swerved to miss a row of cars near the intersection of Garnet Avenue and Haines Street and struck 25-year-old Christopher McCallister just before midnight on June 24, prosecutor Mackenzie Harvey said. She said the victim was crossing the street with two roommates when he was hit almost head-on and thrown into the windshield of Hall’s Toyota Celica.
McCallister, who had one year of law school left, was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim’s older sister, Kellie Matijasevic, said her brother’s death has devastated her family. “I learned so much from the way Christopher lived his life,” Matijasevic told San Diego Superior Court Judge George “Woody” Clarke. She said her brother, an athlete, student-body president and “Mr. Everything” in high school, graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara and “had hopes and dreams of becoming a lawyer.””He enjoyed life greatly and did everything at 100 percent,” Matijasevic said. She said her brother had strong feelings about drinking and driving. “He never did it,” Matijasevic told the judge.
Gerri McCallister said her son, the president of his fraternity at UCSB, established a charity there for children infected with AIDS. She said 1,000 people attended a memorial service for her son in their hometown of Albuquerque, N.M. “I cry for him every day,” the mother said. “I only miss him more as time passes.” She told the judge that her son didn’t have to die and did so only because Hall decided to drink and then drive. “It is obscene to me that Daniel killed Christopher in this manner,” she said.
The defendant told police that he left a party where he drank beer and then rum “straight from the bottle,” according to Harvey. Hall also had sedatives in his system and told police he was selling marijuana, some of which was found in his car, the prosecutor said.
The defendant’s father said his son has felt excruciating remorse for causing McCallister’s death and will continue to suffer for it. “The world will always be a cold place for him,” Peter Hall said.
The defendant cried as he apologized to the victim’s family. “I hope that someday I can be forgiven, but that’s probably too much to ask,” he said.
Defense attorney Scott Williams unsuccessfully urged the judge to sentence his client to probation and local jail time or order a 90-day evaluation to see if jail or prison was the appropriate sentence. “His remorse is extreme and absolute,” the attorney said. Williams said the victim was under the influence and had a 0.13 percent blood-alcohol level several hours after the accident. The attorney also said the victim dashed across the street before being struck.
But Clarke said it was hard to conceive that the defendant wasn’t aware of the danger of drinking and driving, an action society wouldn’t tolerate.
“This is a situation in which everybody loses,” the judge said. Speaking to the defendant, Clarke said, “You took away the life of a 25-year-old man who had everything in the world going for him.”
The fact that Hall fled the scene and left the victim for dead made it worse, Clarke said. Officers stopped Hall’s car 10 minutes after the crash at Interstate 5 and Sea World Drive and took him into custody.
Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty For Killing Man With Car Blood Alcohol Level Was 3 Times Legal Limit
Channel 10 News, August 23, 2006
SAN DIEGO — An 18-year-old driver whose blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit when he ran over and killed a USD law student in Pacific Beach pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony charges.
Daniel Scott Hall spoke softly and appeared somber as he pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run resulting in death. He faces anywhere from probation to 11 years in state prison when sentenced Nov. 6 by Superior Court Judge George “Woody” Clarke.
Hall swerved to miss a row of cars near the intersection of Garnet and Haines Street and struck 25-year-old Christopher McCallister just before midnight on June 24, according to prosecutor Makenzie Harvey. She said the victim was crossing the street with two roommates when he was hit almost head-on and thrown into the windshield of Hall’s Toyota Celica. McCallister was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Chris was an extraordinary human being with a bright and exciting future,” his mother said outside court. “He had a million friends. This young man touched many lives.” McCallister’s father, Chris, said he and his wife, who live in Albuquerque, N.M., had “25 wonderful years with him.” Gerri McCallister said more than 900 people showed up at a memorial service for her son in Albuquerque, and another 500 attended a service in San Diego. Classmates want to have another memorial service for him, according to his mother, who said the recently established Chris McCallister Scholarship Fund already contains $7,000.
She said Hall made the decision to drink and drive, and should receive the maximum sentence possible. Shaun Schmidt, who was among those wearing a Mothers Against Drunk Driving red bracelet on his wrist in memory of his friend, said the victim “was just an outstanding individual.”
Kellie Matijasevic, who lives in Dallas, said seeing Hall plead guilty to killing her brother brought back the pain. “I miss him tremendously,” she said. McCallister’s roommates made it safely across the street and he was hit, but Hall narrowly missed one of them, Harvey said.
A witness noticed a car with a smashed windshield, saw the accident scene and called 911, the prosecutor said. Officers stopped Hall’s car 10 minutes later at Interstate 5 and Sea World Drive and took him into custody.
The defendant’s blood-alcohol level was .23 percent after the accident, according to Harvey. The legal limit is .08.Assault