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"Not guilty" plea from suspected drunk motorist who struck and killed elderly couple near Valley Center


Sunday, July 7th, 2013
Issue 27, Volume 17.


VISTA - The 20-year-old man allegedly driving a car that fatally struck a couple walking north of Valley Center pleaded not guilty today, July 10, to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing injury.

Earl Decarlos Smith Jr. was ordered held on $1 million bail.

The Oceanside resident was driving east on Old Castle Road about 6:15 a.m. Sunday when his 2011 Toyota Corolla drifted to the right and struck the couple as they walked with their backs to traffic near Mauka Drive, according to the California Highway Patrol. Both victims died at the scene.

Neighbors said the victims - 79-year-old Carl Henry Ackermann and his 78-year-old wife, Eunice, had been taking a daily stroll down Old Castle Road for 30 years.

Smith faces 15 years in prison if convicted. He will be back in court Aug. 14 for a readiness conference and Sept. 11 for a preliminary hearing.


Elderly Valley Center couple killed during morning walk on Old Castle Advertisement
Advertisement for Christ the King  Lutheran Church
[ Christ the King Lutheran Church ]
Road by DUI driver

NORTH COUNTY - A man was jailed on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence after the vehicle he was driving allegedly struck and killed two pedestrians today north of Valley Center.

The 20-year-old driver, later identified as Earl Smith, Jr. of Oceanside, was headed east on Old Castle Road near Mauka Drive in a 2011 Toyota Corolla at about 6:15 a.m. when the vehicle drifted to the right and struck the 79-year-old man and 78-year-old woman, who were walking east with their backs to traffic, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Bettencourt.

A neighbor heard the crash and called 911, authorities said.

Both victims died at the scene, the officer said. Their names were withheld, but they were a married Valley Center couple who were well known in the community for walking in the area, according to Bettencourt and the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.

Smith was uninjured and was arrested, Bettencourt said.


 

57 comments

Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #1 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm
Weeeeeeeell, here we go! So, let's hear it for those who oppose DUI checkpoints. Come on, let's hear your arguments!

Come on, we all cannot wait for your brilliant logic!

AND, let's hear the argument AGAINST 0.00% alcohol level while operating a motor vehicle. Come on, I CANNOT wait to hear those arguments!

When are we, as a society, FINALLY going to say enough is ENOUGH to intoxicated drivers/driving? When?! How many more people have to die needlessly because these filthy intoxicated "CHILDREN WITHOUT PARENTS" keep on engaging in completely reckless and irresponsible behavior? Hmm? How many more?! Who wants to give me an answer? One? Two? Three hundred? Five thousand? How many? As long as it, heaven forbid, isn't you, then who give's a rat's behind? Is that the answer? Hmm?

Hmm? Come on, let's hear ALL of your bogus arguments against DUI checkpoints and against a 0.00% alcohol level limit, against TOUGH penalties against intoxicated drivers, etc.! Let's hear them!

PLEASE find the loved ones of this elderly couple and ask them how they feel THIS VERY INSTANCE! Please get back to us all with your RIVETING findings!

Please, let's hear your arguments that driving with ONE drink is perfectly fine and that it does not impair a driver and one's driving. Please, let's hear it!

Please, let's hear your argument that a DUI checkpoint is unreasonable check and seizure (or whatever the technical term is), . . . and that it somehow . . . inconveniences you. Please, let's hear it!

Please, let me hear your argument how a DUI checkpoint may have been inconvenient for this "CHILD WITHOUT PARENTS" driver and explain your argument to the loved ones of this elderly couple killed. Please, let's hear it!

Let me hear your bogus Libertarian logic how you have a right to this and that and everybody else be darned. Please, let's hear it! And PLEASE explain to me the rights of this elderly couple while you're at it. Please, let's hear it!

Let's hear ALL your RIVETING arguments! Come on, let's hear them.

Two people, my fellow Fallbrookers, just died at the hands of a filthy intoxicated "CHILD WITHOUT PARENTS"! Go argue about that . . . and let your good conscience allow you to look in the mirror while you do so.
Comment Profile ImageRon
Comment #2 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm
What a shame!! Condolences to family and friends!

I have to say that I go out and have a few drinks now and then with friends--but I ride my bike (and I'm 66)! If I drive to a party and have a few drinks--I take a taxi home and get my car the next day.

I agree with Lee's comments above on the DUI checkpoints!!

I often workout early am and am always worried about the guy who was out all night drinking and when first light hits tries to drive...seems like a lot of DUIs happen at that hour that could impact walkers or cyclists!!
Comment Profile Imageres.
Comment #3 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm
right on lee!!!!!
Comment Profile ImageHunter
Comment #4 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm
I've seen this couple walking along this stretch of road every morning for the last 10 or 15 years, holding hands and walking. I hope the idiot who did it is imprisoned as long as possible. I wonder which casino he was coming from?
Comment Profile Imagegrunt
Comment #5 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm
In Japan, they have "driving while drunk" (0.04% I think) and "driving under the influence" (anything from 0.001% to 0.04). One conviction of DUI gets you a lighted license plate; the deal is IF you want to drive, you have to have the lighted plate, any cop can stop you at any time and give you the breath analyzer; fail and you go to jail. The Japanese are extremely hard on drunk drivers, and have very few fatalities as a result. Here we have people with 4-5 convictions still driving - and driving drunk.
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #6 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm
Ron & Res., thank you.
Comment Profile Image#JusticeForJr
Comment #7 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm
Jr was a really nice guy , & his " friends " should have NEVER let him get into his car drunk . Shows who your real friends are . Come on now. We all know we don't think straight when were drunk . My prayers go out to family and friends of the couple and I hope Jr learns from his mistake :/
Comment Profile ImageBarney
Comment #8 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm
Jr. probably is a nice guy, but his friends are no friends. Since he's only 20 according to the article, he never should have been drinking in the first place.

To Hunter: Doubt he was coming from any casino since the article also mentions he was traveling east... that would be towards the area of the casinos... not away from them. And again, you need to be 21 to enter the casinos (though never so naive as to think that's many under 21 are there).
Comment Profile Imageangryfarmer
Comment #9 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm
My condolences to the family of the couple of whom lost their lives. Tragedy!

The simple solution is.... Since alcohol is legal and people really don't rationale having two / three drinks could kill or maim someone else because it alters ones thinking is to put ignition interlocks on ALL production vehicles.... This will put a halt to mostly ALL DWI's, fatalities or injuring someone else...

I'm sure you're probably thinking to yourself right about now.... Why should I have an ignition interlock on my car?.... I don't drink.... I certainly don't drink and drive....

I believe if we are going to be so judgmental and politically correct towards everyone else, we all should be willing to have one installed. You know, start a trend.

Guess what, it isn't going to happen... Right?.. This is how America is....

Sobriety check points most definitely help but it certainly isn't going to stop drunk driving BECAUSE ALCOHOL IS LEGAL AND PEOPLE DON'T RATIONALE THAT HAVING TWO OR THREE DRINKS IS GOING TO HURT SOMEONE OR WORSE, KILL THEM....

Though, I like what grunt had to say.... Pretty interesting!!!
Comment Profile ImageCalifornia Justice is a joke
Comment #10 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 10:06 pm
This just proves how DUI checkpoints don't work and Grunt is right. They had checkpoints all over the place without stopping Earl from killing these people. Earl will be released soon under Brown's new catch and release program and most likely will kill again. Even if Earl doesn't get his driver license back, the police aren't allow to impound cars anymore under Brown's new "Don't ask and let them be" program.
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #11 | Sunday, Jul 7, 2013 at 11:42 pm
Lee: Your comments about "roadblocks" don't even make any sense.

There were several DUI checkpoints throughout the region....yet this tragedy still happened. You need to calm down and try to use a little bit of logic and rational thinking.

As I stated a few days ago...DUI roadblocks are the WORSE method to use to catch DUI drivers......and incidents like this are exactly what I was talking about.

Open your minds and think it through....ignore the hype, bogus claims, and irrational thinking and try to use logic.

It makes absolutely NO SENSE to have FORTY to FIFTY officers ALL standing around in ONE place...wasting time and money pulling over 99.99% completely SOBER drivers.

Just imagine those same FIFTY cops in FIFTY police cars....all patrolling areas throughout North County, especially dangerous back roads like Old Castle....all watching for weaving drivers, vehicles without headlights, wrong-way drivers, speeding, red light running, and even too-slow drivers......ALL the things that DUI's drivers are known to do.

As I stated previously, I was in charge of the traffic enforcement division of a large east coast department.....and we just about eliminated our DUI checkpoints years ago for the exact reason I mentioned.....it turned out to be a waste of money and manpower.

After we had years of using checkpoints vs. saturation patrols research...the results were clear.

The most effective way to address DUI's are by SATURATION PATROLS. Get the officers out from behind their orange vests and orange cones and into patrol vehicles where those same 50 officers can patrol half of North County instead of one street.

Having all those law enforcement officers standing in one place is like rounding up 500 criminals, placing them in a fenced area with 8 gates......and only guarding the main one.

Eliminate stopping and questioning thousands of innocent, sober drivers in these checkpoints....and get out on the roads and find the intoxicated drivers....they are out there and easy to spot.

Roadblocks are being used more and more for one simple reason....money. Cities are receiving huge grants from state and federal agencies to run these checkpoints. Officers enjoy working them because it's easy money and great overtime......... I know...because we received the same type of grants as well....and many officers fought to work them because...face it...it's easy duty.

Don't let them try to convince you that checkpoints are the answer to DUI problems....they are not.

And one last thing. Although it seems (because of the press coverage) that DUI's are dramatically increasing...they are not. According to the National Highway Safety Administration and the California Office of Traffic Safety....we currently have the LOWEST DUI death total in approximately FOUR DECADES.
Comment Profile Imageticksmeoff
Comment #12 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 1:08 am
Wow. I agree with alot of the comments on here. I had my license suspended because I couldn't pay a speeding ticket. There was a guy in there too, on his fourth DUI. He was getting his drivers license back, because he was able to pay the fine. Talk about unfair!
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #13 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 1:09 am
To anyone who still doubts what I've been saying.....read this scenario and tell me that checkpoints are the better answer to DUI apprehension:

One one hand you have a group of 50 officers all standing for 4 hours at a DUI checkpoint on Mission Road. They stop and question 2000 drivers and discover 1995 of them are completely sober while finding 5 that may possibly be under the influence (the average number in most cases). In between the flow of vehicles, they stand around chatting with each other and the rest of the on-scene staff....waiting for that possible DUI driver among the vast, vast, majority of sober ones.

Remember now that NONE of the 2000 drivers have done anything wrong with regard to their ACTUAL driving abilities........even the 5 that were arrested.

None were speeding.
None were weaving.
None ran a red signal.
None ran a stop sign.

They were just driving down the road and were unfortunate enough to sudenly come upon a bunch of cones at a police checkpoint....and a few were found to possibly be under the influence after being asking questions.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now...on the other hand you have 50 officers. All of them have their own patrol vehicle and are put on the road in a saturation patrol on streets all throughout North County.

One immediately finds a driver weaving from one side of the road to the other on the 76. He pulls him over, tests him, and arrests him on the spot for DUI.

Another officer is traveling down Old Castle Road and he gets behind a car hitting 75 mph coming up from Lilac. He stops him and the guy is wasted. Another arrest of a dangerous driver.

Still another deputy is sitting at Deer Springs Road & Champagne Blvd. and another drunk flies through the red light and he gets stopped seconds later and is taken to jail.

The other 47 officers are finding drunken speeders, wrong-way drivers, weavers, and reckless drivers from the 78 to Twin Oaks Valley Road to East Vista Way to Pala-Temecula Road.

All 50 officers, all over North County, witness drunken egregious driving throughout our North County and all 50 come in with their DUI suspects to the Vista jail.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now which do you think is the better solution?
Which operation do you think is the most logical response to reducing DUIs?
Which one is more effective?
Who got the better results?

Which group of officers most likely saved the most lives? The 50 officers stopping 2000 sober drivers and 5 possible DUIs (none of whom had actually been witnessed driven recklessly)? Or the 50 deputies that arrested all those drunks that were endangering every person the road and were actually witnessed driving recklessly by the officers?

Having a large presence of police in one small area is not an effective use of manpower and is not an effective way to address DUIs. They can use all the pretty lights and all the orange cones and flashy signs they want.....but it is not going to stop the drunk drivers from killing us on the other UNprotected roadways throughout North County.

Perhaps if there were a few less deputies questioning sober drivers at a San Marcos Blvd checkpoint..........and more patrolling on Old Castle or Lilac....they could have spotted this drunk before he killed those 2 innocent seniors.
Comment Profile Imageraider fan
Comment #14 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 6:31 am
As a casino employee i know that all the casino's stop serving drinks at 115am.. I dobt he came from a casino, more than likly he came from a house party.. So Hunter, get your facts correct before you post a statement like that.. It is very sad what happened to that couple but dont lay blame on the casino.. The casino did not pour drinks into the subject, then tell him to drive..
Comment Profile ImageChristina
Comment #15 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 9:10 am
This tragedy happened right up the street from us. This couple was so well-known in our area. So precious and sweet. They would pick up trash from the road if someone threw it there. The husband would always gently scoot his wife farther from the road if a car was coming too close...Can you imagine? You are on your morning walk with the love of your life and a car smashes and kills you both? I am so sick to my stomach right now. I feel bad for the guy that killed them because I am sure it was unintentional and he will be imprisoned in his own mind for the rest of his life. A tragedy all the way around.
Comment Profile ImageJamie
Comment #16 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 9:47 am
I am definately upset by this tragedy but always wondered why this couple chose to walk down such a dangerous road. I drive this road daily and early in the morning the sun will hit you right in the eyes. I always said this road is too dangerous to be walking along side. I will miss seeing this elderly couple and I extend my condolences to the family . You almost feel like you know them in a small way just by seeing them daily walking hand in hand. We had nicknamed them the Walkers. Drinking and driving is unacceptable in my eyes but walking so close to a major highway is very dangerous. This is a two lane street but one of the few main roads into valley center and definately runs as a highway! :( so sad . Slow down a bit people ...... you will get there !
Comment Profile ImageVc
Comment #17 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 9:47 am
Zero tolerance !!
Comment Profile ImageMoney Ma'am
Comment #18 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 10:00 am
Six years driving to VC every morning, seeing them walking hand in hand, picking up trash along the roadside from 'other' careless drivers. Sooo sad.

Interlock device on 'every' new vehicle manufactured. Obama spent $130 million on a new battery factory that is now in BK because it still couldn't compete with So Korea's pricing....throwing money every which way the wind blows. For those that do not drink, your car will start, no hassle! Even 1-2 drinks and it will not start.

Yes, the jails are full, they are released and the state will still get their money from all the fees, while innocent pay funeral costs.

The DUI checkpoint in Fallbrook, I just took a side street home and missed it. There are alllways 'ways' around the obvious.
Comment Profile Image08 FHS Grad
Comment #19 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 11:04 am
Condolences to the family for their passing.

But, Lee please chill with the "Child Without Parents," because you don't know if his parents are in his life teaching him the right things and he turns out to be lying to them and be disobedient just to try and have fun. Do not put this on the parents at all because they can have no CLUE.

This mistake is all on him. He knows better not to drink as a minor and especially to drive.
Comment Profile Imagewatch
Comment #20 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm
If he ends up being given 15, he will only do 7 for good behavior
Comment Profile ImageDoris
Comment #21 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm
so sad for this loving couple, who I would see in the morning holding hands. They would always make me smile with all their love. Its so hard to understand why. Old castle is a very dangerous road, it needs side room, for walkers, the bike riders etc. we have had too many folks that should not have been taken from us.
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #22 | Monday, Jul 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm
@ California Justice is a joke, Comment #10
We the People are responsible for the Justice system.
When something like this happens many point the finger and blame the system then vote to be soft on crime.
Comment Profile ImageAnonymous
Comment #23 | Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm
Kids are going to drink regardless of if their 21 or not, plus we call them adults at age 18 and give them a car at 16!! I know earl personally and he has always been a good hearted kid. He is also not the first kid to make the mistake of hurting others while drinking and driving. No one has the right to comment on the situation unless its out of respect for the Ackermann family and their friends.
Comment Profile Image@ #23
Comment #24 | Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Might be a "good hearted" kid...? Well... hope he can live with the murder, yes murder, of this elderly couple for the rest of his life. And he didn't just "hurt" other people, he KILLED them. Don't defend his stupid actions, you're probably someone who drinks and drives while over the limit too (just like this good hearted Jr), by the way you defend him.
Comment Profile Imageangryfarmer
Comment #25 | Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm
To Me:

I vote for the 50 officers patrolling various areas of the region verses the one stop drop and roll DWI check point. Ridiculous to even give thought too!... Thanks for clarifying the obvious....

Many... Not all, but many have no idea regarding the logistics behind drunk driving or the strategy of the police.... There are many factors and I totally agree with your analogy. Because it's the equally balanced manpower throughout the region which will make the difference. And your also right about the press coverage.... Nothing has changed, it has only been intensified through the media. The media is pathetic in every aspect and will do anything for a story....

Again, condolences to the family....
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #26 | Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm
@Anonymous, #23
Just a heads up Anonymous,
Everyone has the right to not only comment but to also judge your good friend Earl and soon a small group of people representing those very people you believe have no rights will be deciding his fate.
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #27 | Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013 at 10:33 pm
Thanks angryfarmer....
Comment Profile Imagejklm
Comment #28 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 12:10 am
I think village news shouldn't let people comment
Comment Profile ImageKPC
Comment #29 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 1:01 am
I say that everyone with the derogatory comments should refrain from commenting on this and get lucky
Comment Profile ImageCalifornia Justice is a joke
Comment #30 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 4:09 am
@Preston Comment #22. What you say is true in a democratic society. The recent supreme court decision confirmed we are now living under tyranny here in California. Our votes no longer count. Read http://www.hjta.org/california-commentary/supreme-court-puts-california-initiative-process-jeopardy
@Preston Comment #26. If you think Earl will have a jury decide murder charges, think again. Read http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/crawford-126224-jernigan-scrogin.html Notice...... In her ruling, Scrogin said a murder charge requires proof of a "conscious disregard for human life."
Comment Profile ImagePOOR FOLKS
Comment #31 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 4:53 am
The article states that the elderly couple were walking with their backs toward traffic. So, if they were walking on the other side of the road, the sun would not have been an issue, at 6:15 AM. That does not, however, excuse 20 year old, DUI, Earl Smith, for running them over. This guy needs to be locked up for a very long time. RIP
Comment Profile Image@#30
Comment #32 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 10:47 am
Thanks for trying to help me make my point regarding the apathy of the people.
As for Earl, don't believe I said anything about a Jury.
Comment Profile ImageTT
Comment #33 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm
I knew Earl a few years back and he was a pretty normal kid. Decent family, motivated person but what a foolish decision he had made. Even worse is that 3 lives were ruined that day. People comment on here that he deserves to rot in jail but his entire life is ruined. Its harsh to say but this elderly couple has already lived out and done what they wanted to get out of life. Because of Earls careless decision, he will never be able to strive for the life that he wanted. A felony and jailtime at the least has completely limited the rest of his life, as well living with the guilt of manslaughter(Murder requires premeditated thought). In no way am I trying to defend Earl and the entire situation is just sad, from the loving couple that was killed to a young kid whos action have completely destroyed any dreams and opportunities he had in the future. Where some of you have anger and revenge for Earl Smith, I just have sorrow and sadness.
Comment Profile ImageSuzy
Comment #34 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm
This is so sad... my condolence to this sweet couples family and friends... I too have watched this couple for years take there daily walks up and down Old Castle... Now they are in Heaven together continuing their walks... This is the 3rd death right here on Mauka and Old Castle... some of you might remember the motor cycle accident about 6 -8 months ago.... RIP
Comment Profile Imageinside
Comment #35 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm
I have no feelings for Jr. except that I hope he is DEAD INSIDE, like the couple he killed.
Comment Profile Imagesaddened
Comment #36 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm
I heard the 20 year old came from a house party where a parent possibly knew kids under 21 were drinking. That adult should also be arrested and prosecuted for providing alcohol &you contributing to the delinquency of minors. Seriously hope the CHP is conducting that investigation.
Comment Profile ImageMore information
Comment #37 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Sorry this whole "good kid" thing is a joke. How can you be behind the wheel with a BAC of 0.12, which was taken 90 minute after the car.
Comment Profile ImageForgivness
Comment #38 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:12 pm
We can;t bring back the eldelry couple and my prayers go out to their family. It is okay to disagree, but clese your eyes for a moment, imagine if it was your child, or someone close to you whom took the lives of someone. I am not condoning what the young man did, but he has to live with this tragic event for the rest of his life. Please let's just say a prayer for the deceased, and for the young man whom has ruined his life, lets not forget no one is without sin.
Comment Profile Imageannonymous
Comment #39 | Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm
Like seriously! people need to STOP posting all these negative comments! Earls "good kid" thing is NOT a joke, because he really is a good kid! thats what he is a good KID, and KIDS make mistakes all the time! yeah what he did was horrible but it doesnt help or make the situation any better with all these negative comments. if you want to say something negative keep it to yourself, if not for respect for earl and his fam, but for the victims' respect. im pretty sure the victims and victims family would not appreciate any of this bull crap going around. earls and the victims' families are going through a really hard time and all these posting are not helping at all. people need to seriously keep all there comments to themselves. be grateful that earl has been serving our country and if he gets all this straigtened out he will still serve our country! no one has the right to say anything about this situation if it doesnt involve you in the first place! hes 20 years old, just started his life and he'll have to live with this for the rest of his life. living with this feeling is more than anyone can imagine! earl will turn his life around, keep serving our country, and will do his best to be a good citizen an person!
Comment Profile Imagegrunt
Comment #40 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 6:26 am
@39. Why should we "respect Earl"? And you cannot have it both ways, he was "serving his country" and be a KID at same time. 20 years old is no longer a kid; he can vote, join the military, drive.
Comment Profile ImageCalifornia Justice is a joke
Comment #41 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 6:44 am
Some comments here suggest Earl will be agonizing over this tragedy for the rest of his life. The writers probably assume that because they would. I am not a psychiatrist but do know of a "good" person that had a similar thing happen and then lead a normal life. He was actually convicted of manslaughter after a drunken barroom fight. He left kids fatherless, but did his year in jail and never looked back.
Earl is facing a max of 15 years. If he is found guilty it is doubtful he will get the max sentence, but if he does and is "good", he will be out in 2, maybe 5 years max. My bet is that Earl, if convicted, will do about one year in jail. His not guilty plea alone tells me he is not personally that affected. I'm guessing that this will not ruin his life.

Many people convicted of DUI are repeat offenders and get very little jail time. If you are not afraid of the truth, Go to http://www.citizensoutcry.org/duirepeatoffenders.htm and click on the names at the end of the page to view their history. None of these people seemed to be seriously affected by having to live with their crimes.

Now the Asiana CEO is a guy I believe will be affected by that tragedy for a very long time.
Comment Profile Imageweblady
Comment #42 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 7:43 am
I also know someone who killed another person unintentionally while driving and they have had to deal with it for the rest of their life. They may not talk about it, but they definitely haven't forgotten the person they hit. It is a sad situation for everyone. Pray that he can eventually find forgiveness and forgive himself so that when he does get out he won't drink and drive anymore and not be a repeat offender.
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #43 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 7:58 am
@ anonymous,
When I was Earl’s age I believe the legal alcohol limit was .12 (in California) and I am sure many commonly drove at or near that limit however, during the past 50+ years, many things have changed and the public’s willingness to accept drunk drivers is one of them. Had Earl stayed home, got drunk and committed a crime (there) I would be inclined to agree with you, but he didn’t, and the crime he committed was against the People -- That is why he is being judged by the people. I understand your agony and sincerely hope you (and all of Earl’s friends) learn something from this tragedy.
Comment Profile Imagepeace
Comment #44 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 9:08 am
To #33 and #39 your words said it best! Three lives died that morning.... nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes we were all young once. Only God can judge us!! My prayers go out to both families. May you find peace in God!
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #45 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 9:12 am
Aah yes, let's see now. Let me guess as to what Mr. Earl Decarlos Smith Jr.'s argument for a not guilty plea could have been. Aah yes, got it!

Intoxicated drivers understandably need more physical space to maneuver their vehicle. This elderly couple, walking along Old Castle Road, encroached on Mr. Earl Decarlos Smith Jr.'s physical space while maneuvering this said road. Therefore, it was the elderly COUPLE'S fault for causing the accident.

Yeap, makes sense to me.
Comment Profile Image@peace
Comment #46 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 10:51 am
"A mistake means forgetting to cross a 't' or dot an 'i'". It was NOT a mistake but a choice to drink and a choice to drive. AMEN.
Comment Profile ImageHolBear
Comment #47 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 11:15 am
There needs to be zero tolerance for drunk drivers. Allowing the justice system to say it is tolerated by fines or some jail time with a 1st or 2nd time offense is despicable. Taking a life by way of lack of accountability and negligence should result in a harsh penalty i.e life in prison without the possibility of parole or death and if life in prison, a life of hard labor not just 3 meals a day, time to work out and hanging out with friends. Put the jail birds back on a chain, cut their meals to 2 and keep them in solitary confinement when not working. That is what prison should be like and that lifestyle might just deter dumb individuals from making dumber mistakes.
Comment Profile ImageIrisJune
Comment #48 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 11:39 am
Lee,

I find your comments very evasive.

It's the responsibility from all these casinos that put these people out there. The police cannot babysit these casino patrons all the time.

Truly a sad situation...let's make alcohol illegal...and 85% of medications everybody is on, too.
Comment Profile Image@grunt
Comment #49 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm
@#39, yes earl is a KID serving our country! oe do YOU consider a person no longer being a kid at 18?? heres a questions for you:
what do people say when an 18 year old dies overseas or in a trainig failure? so and so was a good kid! so and so was just a kid. kinda different when you put it that way, no?
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #50 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm
To those saying Earl.."just made a mistake".......which mistake are you talking about?

The drinking and driving with .12 BAC?
The report that it's his SECOND offense....and just 20 years old?
The report that he was travelling at 75 mph at point of impact?
The report that he was also consulting his GPS while driving drunk at 75 mph?

Which of those is the "mistake" that we're all supposed to forgive him for? Oh well OK....I forgive him for using his GPS while driving....the rest of the list? Not so much.
Comment Profile Imagemore
Comment #51 | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm
This is also his 2nd DUI
Comment Profile Imagegrunt
Comment #52 | Friday, Jul 12, 2013 at 6:41 am
@ "@grunt"; nope, I do not call any Marine a "kid". The point is calling him a good kid that made a mistake is trying to paint the picture of a 12 year old throwing a rock/baseball through a window.
Comment Profile ImageMom of lots
Comment #53 | Friday, Jul 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Referring to a grown 20 year old MAN as a "kid" is part of the problem.
Comment Profile ImageProf
Comment #54 | Saturday, Jul 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm
I am disgusted with the thoughts and concerns that people post on here. I find that the majority of comments are egocentric/stereotypical views. I assume those whom post in that manner,must be of traditional Fallbrook family background such as people who have lived in Fallbrook for decades. People need to start thinking outside the box,there's much more than to black & white. Such a hick town!
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #55 | Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 8:10 am
@ Prof
Do you honestly believe the “Fallbrook Hicks” especially those that have lived here for decades, will believe you are educated when they find out that there's much more than to black & white?
Comment Profile ImageLMAO
Comment #56 | Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 9:36 am
Not too mention that Prof used the word whom incorrectly. If he is a well educated college professor I'm the king of France....
Comment Profile Imagewhat
Comment #57 | Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm
Is Earl "good kid that has two DUIs at ONLY 20 yrs old, but the second with two deaths on his hands" Jr black or something? Because I don't get Prof's comment. Where are the black/white comments? I think Prof is a "hick".

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