Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: I can't remember the name of the man, but I think he was a lobbyist that was convicted of DUI in the death of several people one afternoon. What ended up happening to him?
Submitted by: Chelsea, Sacramento
ANSWER: A Sacramento County jury convicted Roberto P. Vellanoweth, a former state bureaucrat, of gross vehicular manslaughter in a collision that killed four people, including a 19-month-old boy, in March 2007.
Vellanoweth was sentenced in Sacramento Superior Court in 2008 to 17 years and eight months in prison. The judgment was affirmed by Third District Court of Appeal in 2010. Vellanoweth, 69, is incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione.
According to stories in The Bee, the collision occurred March 26, 2007, when Vellanoweth crashed his Jeep Grand Cherokee into Chrysler LeBaron on South Land Park Drive, killing four of the occupants, Brichelle Rice-Nash, 21, her 19-month-old son, Kamall Osby, her sister Brittanya Rice-Nash, 17, and family friend Shanice Patrice Carter, 18. A fifth victim, teenager Tanisha Jackson, survived the crash but suffered extensive internal injuries.
Vellanoweth testified that he had had a three-martini lunch with friends. He then stopped at the Camino Real Restaurant next door to his Broadway office about 3:30 p.m. where he said someone handed him a 12-ounce fruity drink called a "kamikaze virgen" without telling him it was spiked.
The crash occurred less than 20 minutes later.
Vallanoweth had served as one of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's appointees to the state Board of Optometry, and he petitioned the Governor's Office for clemency. His petition was not granted.
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