Lakeside man, 19, faces vehicular manslaughter charge in 74-year-old Ramona man’s death

A 19-year-old Lakeside man suspected of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of a 74-year-old Ramona man is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court in El Cajon on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Emergency crews respond to a two-vehicle collision that killed a 74-year-old Ramona man on San Vicente Road Thursday night. Sentinel photo/Dixie Pettit

Garrett Michael Sparks was arrested after the 2007 pickup he was driving crossed a double-yellow line on San Vicente Road and struck the 2000 pickup driven by Kenneth Crane, who died at the scene, reported California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Kattke.

The collision occurred approximately six-tenths of a mile south of Warnock Drive about 7:40 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, said Kattke.

Both men were driving red Ford Rangers, San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office reported. The deceased, Kenneth Crane, was southbound and Sparks was northbound, said Kattke. Sparks was uninjured, the officer said.

The collision occurred about one-half mile north of where 18-year-old Victoria “Tori” S. Richeson of Ramona died in a one-vehicle accident on San Vicente Road a week earlier, on Aug. 22, said Kattke.

The 2007 Ford Ranger a 19-year-old Lakeside man was driving sits on its side after the pickup veered into the oncoming lane, striking a southbound vehicle. Sentinel photo/Dixie Pettit

The 2007 Ford Ranger involved in a two-vehicle collision that killed a Ramona man, 74, sits on its side along San Vicente Road south of Warnock Drive. Sentinel photo/Dixie Pettit

Sparks was attempting to retrieve items that fell from a box on the passenger’s seat onto the floorboard just before the accident, said Kattke, noting that, while the Lakeside resident is not suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, officials are conducting an ongoing investigation.

Witnesses arrived at the scene just after the initial collision, said Kattke. Responding paramedics confirmed Crane’s death at 8:02 p.m., reported the medical examiner’s office.

Sparks is being held in the San Diego Central Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail and will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s website.

Pictured is the 2000 Ford Ranger driven by a 74-year-old Ramona man killed when his southbound vehicle was struck by an oncoming vehicle that drifted into his lane. Sentinel photo/Dixie Pettit

Related posts:

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  3. Green receives year in jail for vehicular manslaughter
  4. Man, 21, faces DUI charge in Thursday evening crash
  5. Ramona man, 74, killed in head-on collision on San Vicente Road

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Aug 30 2013. Filed under Featured Story, News, Ramona, Sheriff/Fire. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

23 Comments for “Lakeside man, 19, faces vehicular manslaughter charge in 74-year-old Ramona man’s death”

  1. Joe Cahak

    This is truly sad. Our condolences to the families.
    All I can say is, we finally have road improvements coming. We won the argument that we need a road that meets the minimum county standard for driving safety and we need it as soon as possible. All hurdles are out of the way now and the project starts soon. I make no apologies to any of the nay-sayers in this community about my 15 year effort to bring this project to fruition.
    My only regret is we could not make it happen sooner and have a chance at saving any of these precious lives. To the pin-heads that make derogatory comments on the patch and occasionally here about it's all driver fault, I would like to hear you say that after someone you know is impacted. I think you will find them of extreme offence and you have my disdain. To the politicians or pseudo-politicians who think they know road standards and safety and of late worked against this I say, I having gotten to know the road standards having worked with DPW for all those years, can tell you, are are full of it and wrong. In my opine you are dangerously wrong.
    We need to be aware of and demand from our representatives good governance and livable conditions. This road meets not a single roads standard and I challenge anyone to show me otherwise.
    Now let's find a way to help these poor families grieve. My heart hurts for them tonight. He died on my birthday. It could be me someday, or you. All it takes is one small thing and bam. think on this Ramona, Barona and San Vicente Residents before any of you post anything disrespectful to the grieving.

    • Herve Auch-Roy

      Joe, your crusade is noble, and nobody doubts that you want these crashes to end. But you keep missing the root cause of all of this drama, while sending out a dangerous message to young drivers.
      Promoting the widening the road and the "Road Standards", while not planning anything to address speeding and distracted driving suggests that people don't need to change anything of their dangerous driving habits, because "the road is at fault because it doesn't follow the Road Standards".
      Supporters of the current project don't seem to realize that this is the message that they all send to young drivers.
      Does the current project include funding for an additional police officer, an additional vehicle and a mobile radar, all dedicated to crack down on speeders and distracted drivers? No, it only focuses on the road, as if the road was the only one at fault.
      There is no such thing as "Road Standards", but only driving standards stating that we must stay in control of our vehicle at all time, no matter what the road looks like.
      Steps to crack down on speeders and distracted drivers must be the main part of the project and must be the key message sent out.All the "Ramona Village Idiots" (as we are being called now) only want to point out that NOTHING IS BEING DONE NOR PLANNED TO ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSE OF THESE CRASHES. Therefore, we believe that they will continue with the wider road as they happen today, only at higher speeds.
      Over the three years that we've lived in the Estates, we have never seen a radar on that stretch of road, despite the sign that says "RADAR ENFORCED".
      As some Estates residents are old and some don't have the best eye sight, they will continue driving at 45 MPH on the wider road while others will come after them at 70MPH and above. More deadly rear-endings and head-ons are the only thing that we can expect with the current wider road project, in addition to killed bicyclists in the future bike path.
      This 19 year old kid is not the sole responsible for this crash: what are WE doing to educate kids better at keeping their eyes on the road at all time?
      Remember that when we point out our index finger at someone, three other of our own fingers are pointed at us (try it and you'll see). And that includes me, but at least I open my mouth even as I'm now being labelled as "the village idiot not knowing what he's talking about". I don't care – 37 years of driving all sorts of vehicles under all roads conditions all over the world must have taught me something.

      • CA Smith

        Part one:
        You keep avoiding the real point here. Yes, better responsibility and training would help reduce the accident rate, as would better enforcement. But in todays real world, the only thing that has any chance of actually happening is more enforcement. Because of budgetary limitations, such enforcement would not be continuous, but instead would fluctuate. The Sheriff's Department and Highway Patrol have a lot of territory to cover with limited man power.

        Look at my hand. I'm pointing all of my fingers and my thumb at you. Word games are not valid logical arguments, even if people like you use them to seem to make a point.

        The one thing that can and will be done is road improvement, which will reduce accidents if done properly. But some people would rather have large vegetables (trees) instead of safety.

        • CA Smith

          Part two:
          The 19 year old driver is "the" sole responsible party. He was the licensed driver behind the wheel, and the only one in the car. Trying to distribute responsibility to others is part of the problem. People are responsible for their own actions. When we try to say otherwise, we have set the stage for people to act irresponsibly. When that happens, no amount of parental oversight, training, or licensing requirements, will be effective.

          Over 40 years of driving and world experience have taught me something, too. One is that an appeal to having greater experience is a rhetorical ploy, and is meaningless.

          The bottom line is that road improvement is the only thing that we can realistically expect to happen. It will not be a panacea, but it will help.

      • Oliver

        You're so right, Herve, and while Joe is an otherwise nice guy, he has his ego too far entrenched in this issue.

      • LynnH

        I second this opinion.

        I live on a section of San Vicente that was widened with an added center turn lane for residents to "safely" turn into their driveways off San Vicente. I see drivers using that lane for passing numerous times a day and as for the 50 mph speed limit, that's a joke to alot of the drivers. Wouldn't be surprised if one day there is a head-on collision because a driver was so anxious to get to their destination. Who's fault will it be, couldn't be the road, that would leave the driver. The speeding isn't exclusive to cars and trucks, it includes motorcyclists as well.

        I believe more law enforcement is definitely needed along San Vicente. Let's write the CHP and Sheriff's office and put our requests on their table. Maybe if enough of us do it we'll have an increased presence. Hey, they can park in my driveway and catch speeders coming off San Vicente and Hanson Lane any day of the week.

    • Shane

      Joe Cahak,
      Garrett Sparks crossed the double yellow while retrieving items that had fallen on the floor, i.e. took his eyes off the road and perhaps hands off the wheel. No amount of “road improvements” would have prevented this accident.
      Shame on you for using this tragedy to promote your misguided cause.

    • jewels1216

      Joe – I lost a 17 year old sister to a car accident, so I am very familiar with that kind of loss. Oh, and she died on a straight road with no trees, single car accident and wasnt speeding, and car didnt malfunction. Kids make mistakes. You can't change that.

      HOWEVER, exactly how are your 'improvements' going to stop that last accident from happening???? Unless you have a concrete barrier in your plan (which the last I saw there isn't one), this accident would have happened. And unless you are going to remove every tree along there Tori would have still hit something, but in your 'wonderful improvement' it would have been a child walking or a horse/rider that would have died. Your right, she might have lived, but the people walking along that 'dangerous road' wouldnt have! Why is it no one sees this major flaw in the plan???

      However, lowering the speed limit to 35 would increase all of our chances of surviving this type of accident.

      I hate all the 'wonderful' plans people come up with that ruin our beautiful country. If you want to live in a concrete jungle, you can always move to San Diego. The rest of us moved up here to get away from concrete barriers and 6 lane roads, and stupid plans that ARE GOING TO FAIL.

      All I can say is 'I told you so' after your plan fails and we loose our beautiful section of country road. But that wont bring back the canopy of trees many of us love.

  2. Jane Tanaka MD

    I offer my deepest sympathy to Mr Crane's family. Mr Sparks is admitting to taking his eyes off the road to retrieve items that fell from a box on the passenger's seat onto the floorboard. It is honorable that he is admitting this .
    I think that 2 deaths very close together on a stretch of road, and close together timewise should be wakeup call. Yes, a wakeup call for us drivers to be vigilent, and not eat or drink while driving, not text while driving, not change the settings on the sound system when driving, not enter data on the gps while driving, not take curves faster because we are in a hurry,not speed no matter what, not pickup the books that flew off the car seat, not take off our shoes when driving, not drive when we feel ill.(One woman died due to a sneezing fit on a local road years ago). And yes, young drivers need extra training for maneuvering safely on curved , narrow, rural roads like ours. .

  3. Jane Tanaka MD

    But its also a wakeup call that this stretch of road is poorly engineered . Narrow rural roads that have more than 2000 vehicles traveled on it have far higher crash rates if they are 9 feet wide, compared to when they are 12 feet wide, no matter the speed limit.(Would Mr Crane have been able to avoid Mr Sparks oncoming truck if the road were wider or if there was another lane?) Road curves without adequate superelevation , or infact grading in the wrong direction, have much higher crash and collision rates also. Both need to be worked on. Its not an either or. No doubt that re-enginneering this road will be extremely inconvenient for all who travel it to go to work, school, and elsewhere, for many months. But if they leave the speed limits the same, and people improve driving habits , and we improve the roads, there is a chance that lives will be saved.

  4. Joe Cahak

    Mr. Herve Auch-Roy you are wrong. The improved road to standards is a huge improvement to begin with and with this improvement comes the increased enforcement that we all want. So stop giving false opines and read what was posted previously and listen for a change. I state you are wrong and will never accede to your false information or opinion. We have suffered enough with this damn road and I am sick of yours and other arguments against the improvement, we all vitally need. Time will show the impact. I know it will stand the test of time, irregardless the pin-headed opines and ignorance of so many in this community. The matter is done and in the final stages to construction. Nothing will stop it anymore. But we can all play a part in making it safer in the future. Insist on roads to improved to standards and ask for more enforcement. Teach your kids to drive safer and be more respectful of the other guy. If you are so concerned about the trees, why don’t you take up an effort to acquire more and steward them, like I did last round. I’ll tell you why, there are too many gutless and ignorant cowards in this community that shoot out easy pop shots while doing nothing constructive.

    • Herve Auch-Roy

      Joe, it would make a world of difference if the project was promoted as "CRACKING DOWN ON SPEEDERS AND DISTRACTED DRIVERS", instead of "A MORE FORGIVING ROAD".
      A promoted "more forgiving road" makes people believe that they will be forgiven if they speed of take their eyes off the road, while in fact none of us (including you, I'm sure) will tolerate speeders and distracted drivers anymore.
      It wouldn't take much to switch opponents into supporters: just include funding for law enforcement resources and promote the project as "FACILITATING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO CRACK DOWN ON SPEEDERS AND DISTRACTED DRIVERS". Is it still time to do so while moving on to construction?
      We have about 18 months to work together and anchor in the head of the public that SPEEDERS AND DISTRACTED DRIVERS WON'T BE TOLERATED ANYMORE.
      I agree that "time will show the impact", and I want it to be good and positive.
      I don't want to see sterile comments like "We told you so", "Stupid planners", "Incompetent CalTRANS" when the first deadly crash occurs on the new San Vicente Road, because it won't help.
      I'll do my best to attend the next meeting, and I encourage other opponents to join as well so we put down our misunderstanding to rest once and for all, and stop this endless and fruitless argument.

  5. Mike D

    I'll say it again and again, "if the road causes accidents then pencils cause mistakes".

    • Torry

      I don't think anybody denies that accidents are do to driver error. If nobody made mistakes, there would be no accidents anywhere. Where I think we disagree, is in accepting the fact that all drivers make mistakes. You have made them. I have made them. Driver education is paramount in reducing these mistakes, but it is not the complete answer, and it is nearly impossible to make happen. We cannot magic away cell phones, speeders, drunks, or the elderly. So what can we do? How can we reduce the negative consequences of the mistakes all drivers make? We can increase the distance between cars; this allows more time to react if someone starts drifting over the lanes. We can add shoulders where non exists; this means that drivers who cross over the white line do not immediately lose control of their car. We can add rumble strips to help alert distracted drivers. We can change the inclination of the road so that centripetal force helps to keep the car in its lane. We can make roads less curvy so there is less need to keep changing your speed when coming into, and out of, corners. All of these things are scientifically proven to reduce the rate of accidents.

      • Mike D

        Good luck my friend, you can fix the road but you can't fix stupid.

      • Herve Auch-Roy

        Torry, while it makes sense to make the road more forgiving to drivers mistake, we should not promote it as the goal of the project, because it sends out the message that we will be forgiven as we keep speeding and being distracted.
        We should all promote that the road is being widened and straightened in order to "help law enforcement crack down on speeders and distracted drivers".
        We should tell the world around that speeding and distracted driving won't be tolerated anymore thanks to this new road that will allow for speed traps.
        And also provide law enforcement with resources to do so.

        • Torry

          You will get no argument from me. More safely designed roads, driver education, and police enforcement all must work together on this.

    • Mike

      I have a teenage driver and remind him everyday to drive carefully, stay off his phone, don't speed, pay attention, etc…
      I also show him every article about these accidents as a reminder of how easily these accidents can happen and I remind him that I don't ever want to read an article like this with his name in it.

      Changing the road WILL increase the speeds of the drivers regardless of age and WILL increase the accidents which WILL be more fatal then many of them currently are due to the speeds. The only solution that makes sense is driver education on a constant basis and some self control for all ages!

      Unfortunately as long as there have been cars there have been car accidents; now that there are more cars there will be more accidents.

      As it has been said before we are the only ones responsible for what happens on the road behind our cars and straightening the road is NOT going to help things but will make matters worse.

      I can't stress enough that we need to PAY ATTENTION WHEN DRIVING!

      My heart sinks everytime I hear of a fatality accident as it does in this instance.

  6. Elena Cannata

    If there is something wrong with the road….FIX IT!. The bottom line is that Garrett Sparks and Garrett Sparks alone is responsible for the death of my uncle. In a moment of supreme stupidity Garrett Sparks killed a beloved husband, he killed a beloved father, he killed a beloved brother, he killed a beloved uncle. He killed a VERY good man! I live 3,000 miles away and am currently helping my parents downsize. When I got the news, I had to break it to my father that his baby brother was dead. I pray that I never have to do anything like that ever again. We, his family, are grieving…his wife, his children, his brothers, his nieces and nephews etc. are grieving and as I read the vitriolic comments back and forth I feel sick. Name calling and vitriol will not solve the problem. If there have been a number of accidents and fatalities along this stretch of road, it seems to me that that is a pretty good indicator of a problem that needs fixing. FIX IT! The only talk should be about the most effective way to do so. However, the ultimate responsibility is with the driver no matter how good or bad a road is. It is the drivers responsibility to keep his or her eyes on the road, to not drink and drive, to not text or talk on their cell phone (even those that are hands free!), to not put on make-up…do I make myself clear? When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle your ONLY responsibility is to drive responsibly! Now, back to Garrett Sparks. I am glad that he has been arrested. There are consequences for actions. Stupidity is not an excuse. He took a life. It is my opinion, however, that ruining another life is not an answer. Putting Garrett Sparks in jail for whatever period of time is required by law for vehicular homicide (manslaughter?) is not necessarily productive. If anything good is to come out of this tragedy, Garrett Sparks should have to spend a goodly amount of time speaking to high school students about distracted driving and how it feels to have to live the rest of your life knowing that you took the life of someone else. He should have to visit the hospital beds of those who have survived the stupidity of other distracted drivers. He should have to look in their eyes and at their mangle bodies. He should have to visit the morgue and see first hand what thousands of pounds of fast moving steel will do to flesh and bone. If he has any humanity or moral compass, he will beg the forgiveness of my uncles family. I would like to say thank you to those of you who have expressed condolences. Now, please, stop the name calling and vitriol and fix the problem.

  7. Sherry

    We are so sorry for your loss Elena. You have, without a doubt, lost one of the nicest people I know. I am a friend of Ken and his wife. He was a wonderful, caring, and generous, person and will always be remembered. We are thankful for the time we had together when they visited us not too long ago. My husband and I have such fond memories. We continue to pray for family as they go through this difficult time. Rest in peace dear Ken.

  8. dan

    Ken is a good, kind and thoughtful man. When he and his wife came to visit us I could plainly see that he loved her deeply and was always so caring of her. Many husbands and fathers would do well to emulate this man. He not only displayed good character, but he was in excellent physical shape for his age – l thought he looked about 15 years younger. He will be greatly missed. We are praying for the family and the Lord’s guidance and comfort during this difficult time.

  9. Brian

    He was laid to rest at Miramar national Cemetary this Tuesday afternoon. This man will be missed.

  10. Susie

    Today, December 11,2013, the news states Garrett Sparks, admitted that he took his eyes of the road x 7-10 seconds while attempting to find something on the floor

    of his truck. That something was Inhalent vials that he wanted to huff. He should have stayed in Lakeside. Looser . He looks like a dweb on TV .

    He can only receive 6 years. Not enough. Not near enough. I bet he has made his family proud!!! I guess time will tell if he gets more time after the trail.

    So sad for the victim. What a Loss.

    He is trouble and troubled. Disgusting.

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