The attorney for a 23-year-old Costa Mesa man who was sentenced to a year in jail for a drug- and alcohol-fueled collision that killed an elderly jogger in Newport Beach said Wednesday that his client is “incredibly distraught” over the deadly accident.
Robert John Greaney accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald on Tuesday, defense attorney Jeff Kent said.
Greaney had enough time served under a court-ordered rehabilitation program that he could have been set free immediately, but he agreed to waive those credits, Kent said.
Greaney had voluntarily enrolled in the rehab program following the June 12 collision on Pacific Coast Highway, west of Morning Canyon Drive, that killed 81-year-old Edward Salkin.
At the defendant’s arraignment, when prosecutors were asking for a higher bail, the judge instead made the rehabilitation program mandatory, which made the stint in the program eligible for custody credits, Kent said.
“He’s been incredibly distraught,” Kent said of his client. “He’s been seeking counseling.”
Greaney initially did not realize he had struck Salkin, who was jogging against the direction of traffic in a bike lane despite the existence of a sidewalk, Kent said.
“He immediately thought he hit a box and did not see the individual, so he immediately pulled over and looked at the damage to the front end (of the Ford F-150 pickup truck),” Kent said.
When Greaney saw the victim, he dashed over to render aid, his attorney said.
Greaney had a blood-alcohol content of .15 at the time of the 9:30 p.m. collision and also had Xanax and marijuana in his system. About two hours after the crash, Greaney’s blood-alcohol level was measured at .12, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors objected to the plea deal, and a cousin of the victim asked for prison time for the defendant, Kent said.
Kent described the victim, a retired orthodontist, as an “incredible gentleman” who did pro bono work and began running marathons in his 60s.
“In addition to that, he was going to Orange Coast College to better himself at 81 years of age,” Kent said. “He was an awesome individual. It was a tragic event.”
Greaney pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with injury and an infraction for possession of less than an once of marijuana by a driver. He also admitted a sentence-enhancing allegation of inflicting great bodily harm.
— City News Service