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John Giumarra III sentenced to work release, probation for deadly DUI crash

John George Giumarra III, right, appears in court in Bakersfield, Calif., Tuesday, April 3, 2018, to be sentenced for a DUI crash. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

A member of a prominent farming family was sentenced Tuesday morning for his involvement in a crash that killed a bicyclist.

John George Giumarra III struck 32-year-old Angela Holder in January 2017 on Golden State Avenue near F Street, but he was found not responsible for her death.

Giumarra was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which he can serve through work release and five years probation. He must also complete 100 hours of community service and pay $2,018 in court fees.

As part of the sentence, Giumarra is not allowed to go into bars or drink alcohol. He must also enroll in county DUI programs and install an ignition interlock device on all his vehicles.

The judge said the sentencing decision was based on a hit-and-run charge and driving under the influence with a prior charge. There was no charge that Giumarra was responsible for Holder's death, or that his drunk driving caused the crash.

"It's unusual," Prosecutor Brad Taconi said of the case.

Taconi said typically when someone is under the influence they speed, weave, run a red light or a stop sign and do something that causes the accident. He said in this case there was no evidence that Giumarra's state or driving caused the deadly crash.

“Mr. Giumarra was extremely lucky in this case,” prosecutor Brad Taconi said, noting that Giumarra could’ve been charged with vehicular manslaughter or even murder “if the facts would’ve been slightly different.”

Before the sentencing, the judge reduced the original felony hit-and-run charge to a misdemeanor.

Taconi said that was a disappointment. Giumarra's attorney disagrees and said he never tried to flee the scene.

"Mr. Giumarra absolutely did not make any attempt to flee. He was simply wondering what hit his car as he would not tell," defense attorney Jeremy Brehmer said.

Taconi said evidence shows Giumarra did leave the scene and he feels a felony charge would be appropriate in this case.

Giumarra previously pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor DUI-related counts and a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge.

Police reports show Holder was not in the crosswalk and was wearing dark clothing. Giumarra's attorney also noted that a test showed Holder had meth in her system when she was hit.

Brehmer said that may explain the "erratic behavior and darting out to the unavoidable collision."

Giumarra is a member of the family that runs Giumarra Vineyards. Both the prosecution and defense denied accusations that his prominence in the community worked in his favor.

"We made sure that we filed the charges that we thought were appropriate in this case," Taconi said. "Unfortunately the evidence is what the evidence is."

Although the criminal case is closed, attorney's representing Holder's family said they have already filed a civil suit. They said Holder was the mother of five children, and they are looking to be awarded money for damages.

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