Wednesday, Dec. 11—
A preliminary hearing is scheduled today for a young Lakeside man accused of causing a head-on crash that killed a 74-year-old man in Ramona.
Garrett Michael Sparks, 19, pleaded not guilty on Sept. 6 to charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and driving on the wrong side of a divided highway causing death.
Sparks was arrested shortly after the collision, which occurred on San Vicente Road south of Warnock Drive about 7:40 p.m. Aug. 29, according to the California Highway Patrol. He later posted $50,000 bail.
Sparks told authorities he took his eyes off the road for at least 10 seconds while he was reaching for items that had fallen on his truck’s floorboard from its passenger’s seat, the CHP reported.
His southbound 2007 Ford Ranger drifted into oncoming traffic at about 50 mph and stuck a northbound 2000 Ford Ranger driven by Kenneth Frederick Crane of Ramona.
Crane was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. Sparks was not injured.
Investigators determined alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
A judge will decide at the end of the preliminary hearing whether there’s enough evidence to order the defendant to stand trial.