A man was sentenced Thursday to four years in state prison for a DUI crash that killed a woman crossing the street in Hawthorne last July.
Richard Marlin Merritt, 43, of Hawthorne, pleaded no contest last month to one count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He was charged last year in connection with the July 14 crash that killed Roxanne Stempien, 40, of Hawthorne, who was struck while crossing the street inside a crosswalk just before 1:45 a.m. A male pedestrian was also injured.
Evidence at the scene led detectives to Merritt, according to Hawthorne police Lt. Joel Romero, who said police went to the man’s Hawthorne residence soon after the crash.
“He was the vehicle’s registered owner and the vehicle was parked around the corner with significant front-end damage,” the lieutenant said.
Officers determined the man had been driving under the influence and arrested him, Romero said. Merritt has remained behind bars since then.
He was initially charged with one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person, hit-and-run driving resulting in injury to another person, driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury and driving with a 0.08 blood-alcohol content causing injury. But those charges were dismissed as a result of his plea, according to court records.
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