A repeat drunken driver with a lengthy criminal history pleaded guilty and was immediately sentenced Wednesday to nine years in prison for a hit-and-run crash that injured five victims in Santa Ana last summer.
Garrett James McKinnon, 32, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury and driving under the influence of alcohol while causing injury, as well as misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license. He also admitted sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury on two women.
McKinnon was speeding in an SUV last June 23 about 11 p.m. when an officer saw him blow through a stop sign at Flower and St. Gertrude streets and attempted to pull him over, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. The officer then saw the suspect driving through a red light at Flower Street and Warner Avenue, where he crashed into four other vehicles, Bertagna said.
A passenger in the SUV was taken to an area hospital with serious injuries, and another woman was also admitted to a hospital with significant injuries, Bertagna said. Three men sustained less serious injuries, he said.
McKinnon crawled out of the wreckage and sat on a curb briefly as officers attempted to question him, then tried to run away but was arrested following a short foot chase, Bertagna said. He added that McKinnon was placed in custody on a “flash incarceration” for violating terms of his parole.
McKinnon pleaded guilty in September 2017 to buying or receiving stolen vehicle or equipment with a prior felony conviction, domestic violence and having a concealed loaded unregistered gun in a vehicle, all felonies, as well as misdemeanor counts of identity theft, possession of burglary tools and driving on a suspended license, according to court records. He was sentenced then to two years in prison.
McKinnon pleaded guilty in May 2014 to leading police on a chase causing serious bodily injury and driving under the influence of alcohol, both felonies, along with misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, being under the influence of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. He also admitted a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury on a victim and was sentenced at that time to five years in prison.
Those charges stemmed from a July 2013 police chase that ended with a crash into three other vehicles near Garfield and Brown streets, Bertagna said. A half-dozen people were hurt, including the defendant, he said.
McKinnon has several other convictions on drug charges and theft dating back to 2009, court records show.