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Navy Sailor who drove drunk and fatally struck retired couple sentenced to 11 years behind bars

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Issue 51, Volume 17.
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VISTA - A Navy sailor who drove drunk and fatally struck a couple in their late 70s as they were taking their daily walk north of Valley Center was sentenced today to 11 years in prison.

Earl Decarlos Smith Jr., 21, pleaded guilty in October to gross vehicular manslaughter.

He was driving east on Old Castle Road about 6:15 a.m. July 7 when his 2011 Toyota Corolla drifted to the right and struck the retired schoolteachers 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's blood-alcohol content was 0.12 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving, according to Deputy District Attorney Christy Bowles.

Bowles said the defendant was going 75 mph in a 55 mph zone and was distracted by his cellphone GPS when the crash occurred on the two-lane road, close to the Ackermann's home.

Smith told authorities he had been drinking in Fallbrook the night before the crash. He said he got lost on the way back to the freeway and ended up in Valley Center.



Comment Profile ImageJennifer
Comment #1 | Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 at 8:30 am
There were 3 lives destroyed that day, due to the extremely poor decision to drink and drive. The Ackermann's both lost their lives, and Mr. Smith's life will never be the same. Just imagine, if Mr. Smith had not chosen to drink that night, how life would be given back to the Ackermann's, and Mr. Smith would be free to make a success of his life.
Comment Profile Imageforever
Comment #2 | Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 at 11:26 am
Because of this man's choice to drink and drive, a lovely couple and 30 year tradition was destroyed. I hope he is haunted by this every day for the rest of his life. And if he isn't, then he should pay the same price one day.
Comment Profile ImageFallbrook Rez
Comment #3 | Saturday, Dec 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm
Is it really right to hope he's haunted for the rest of his life? Come on now, yeah he did a bad thing, he shouldnt have been driving. But we all make mistakes. My prayers are with Earl, ive been in a scary similar situation as him and believe me he's hating himself for what he did. He doesnt need internet thugs like you @forever. In the end all we have is eachother. #staystrong

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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