Sparks pleads not guilty to causing head-on crash that killed Ramona man

Friday, Sept. 6—

A 19-year-old Lakeside man accused of causing a head-on crash that left a 74-year-old Ramona man dead pleaded not guilty today to charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and driving on the wrong side of a divided highway causing death.

Garrett Michael 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 posted $50,000 bail and was ordered to return to court today for arraignment.

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 the passenger seat, the CHP reported.

His 2007 Ford Ranger drifted into oncoming traffic at about 50 mph and struck a 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 uninjured.

Investigators determined alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

Judge Charles Ervin scheduled a readiness conference for Sept. 20 and a preliminary hearing for Oct. 10.

—City News Service

   
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