A 23-year-old man who was behind the wheel of a Tesla when it crashed into a motorcyclist in Pasadena, killing him, pleaded no contest Friday to a felony charge.
Donte Antoine Fox of Pasadena is facing 17 years in state prison after his plea to one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for the Oct. 6, 2016, crash that killed Oscar Chavez, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Fox also admitted he fled the scene of the crash and that he had a 2016 conviction for first-degree residential burglary, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
He is set to be sentenced Thursday.
The Tesla driven by Fox was speeding northbound on Marengo Avenue when it collided with the victim’s motorcycle at Washington Boulevard, according to Pasadena police, who said the driver abandoned the car and fled on foot.
The 60-year-old victim, who lived in Pasadena, died at the scene of the collision.
Fox was arrested in June 2018 by Pasadena police and has remained behind bars since then, according to jail records.
Along with vehicular manslaughter, Fox was initially charged with murder, hit-and-run driving resulting in death and driving or taking a vehicle without consent. The remaining charges are expected to be dismissed next week as a result of his plea, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Earlier this year, five of Chavez’s children settled a lawsuit they brought against the Tesla’s registered owner, Charles Zweiback, who was not driving or riding in the car at the time of the collision. The terms of the settlement were not divulged.
The lawsuit alleged that the man who was behind the wheel of the Tesla had been given permission by Zwieback to use his vehicle. But Zweiback’s lawyers argued in their court papers that the 2015 Tesla Model S had been stolen from their client.
“Before the accident, I never gave anyone permission other than my wife to drive my Tesla,” Zweiback said in a sworn statement.
Fox was referred to as defendant “Doe 1” in the lawsuit, but was not identified by name in the plaintiffs’ court papers.
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