A convicted felon who killed a 63-year-old Aguanga woman in a hit-and-run crash east of Temecula pleaded guilty Thursday to gross vehicular manslaughter and was immediately sentenced to nine years in state prison.
Antone Wayne Bayard, 24, admitted the manslaughter count and resisting arrest, along with a sentence-enhancing allegation of fleeing the scene of a collision, during a status hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. In exchange for Bayard’s admissions, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office dropped two related charges.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon certified the terms of the plea agreement and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.
About 6:15 a.m. on Jan. 3 of this year, the defendant was driving a 2011 Nissan Versa well over the speed limit on northbound Highway 371 near Aguanga when the four-door sedan impacted the rear of a Toyota pickup, causing the Nissan to spin out of control, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The compact car spun into the highway’s southbound lanes, just north of Wilson Valley Road, and ended up in the path of Joan Terlisner’s 2001 Mercedes-Benz.
“The (suspect’s) vehicle collided into the Mercedes … which caused it to travel into the northbound lane before rolling over onto the shoulder east of the roadway edge,” CHP Officer Mike Lassig said.
He said the Nissan then overturned on the westbound shoulder of the highway, but Bayard managed to extricate himself from the smashed car and run southbound.
Riverside County Fire Department paramedics arrived a few minutes later and pronounced Terlisner dead at the scene. The two occupants of the pickup were not injured.
Bayard was quickly identified as the hit-and-run driver, but he managed to elude capture for almost four weeks before being apprehended in Desert Hot Springs.
According to court records, the defendant has prior convictions for auto theft, evading arrest and felony vandalism.