Driver in fatal hit-and-run sentenced | SierraSun.com

Driver in fatal hit-and-run sentenced

Tahoe City resident Joseph Santen is behind bars after pleading no contest to killing a North Tahoe bicyclist in a drunken driving incident two summers ago.

Placer County Superior Court Commissioner Trilla Bahrke sentenced Santen to 15 years in prison June 2, two months after he entered his plea, Placer Deputy District Attorney Chris Cattran said.

Cattran said he and the defense reached an agreement, and the case never went to trial.

Santen was charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol and a hit-and-run with injury or death after striking cyclist Brad Reilly on Highway 28 near Lake Forest while driving home from the casinos in Crystal Bay on July 16, 2006.

Reilly, 27, sustained severe head trauma and died at a Reno hospital three days after the collision.

The defense had alleged that Santen was not drunk at the time of the collision, but drank three or four shots of vodka and smoked a bowl of marijuana after he fled the scene. He was arrested at home three hours after the incident.

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Santen had three prior convictions for driving under the influence, according to Cattran.

” Karen McIntyre, Sierra Sun