The Star-News


Despite pleas for longer sentence, man gets seven

Sat, Jan 22 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam

The drunk driver from Paradise Hills who caused the death of sheriff's deputy Ken Collier was sentenced Jan. 7 to seven years and eight months in prison.

An Internet campaign and a petition drive had sought an 11-year, eight-month prison sentence for Jose Pedro Lopez, 23, who is also known as Jose Lopez Jasso, who lived with his parents in Paradise Hills.

Instead, San Diego Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren imposed the middle term while noting Lopez had no prior record, was young and demonstrated remorse. She said Lopez had never been in jail before, but his misconduct while in jail showed he could not be placed on probation, which was sought by his attorney Bruce Kotler.

Halgren gave Lopez credits for serving 314 days in jail since the Feb. 28, 2010, incident and fined him $1,624. The judge turned down a defense request for a 90-day prison diagnostic study because she already rejected probation and said a study would not be useful.

Halgren said Lopez was driving drunk and going the wrong way on state Route 52 and that "shows his disregard for safety."

Lopez's vehicle passed Collier, 39, who turned around and drove on the shoulder to stop Lopez, but his vehicle struck a freeway abutment and plunged down a ravine around 3:20 a.m.


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