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Local News

Manuel Flores Sentenced to Maximum Year in Jail in Death of Sergio Romero

Driver had entered no contest plea to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge stemming from 2011 Milpas Street collision

The truck driver who struck and killed a Santa Barbara teenager on Milpas Street last fall was sentenced Friday to the maximum one year in jail and has had his license suspended.

Earlier this month, Manuel Flores Jr., 20, of Santa Barbara, had pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter in the Oct. 7, 2011, collision that killed 15-year-old Sergio Romero.

Romero, a San Marcos High School sophomore, was in the crosswalk at Milpas Street at Ortega Street when he was struck.

His parents, Guadalupe and Armando Romero, have filed a civil lawsuit against Flores, claiming personal injury, wrongful death and property damage. General negligence and negligence per se are also listed as causes of action against him.

The lawsuit states that Flores was driving the truck at the time of the incident as part of his job, and lists California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corp. and Scolari’s Food & Drug Co. as defendants.

At a community forum last year, Santa Barbara police Sgt. Mike McGrew said the then-19-year-old Flores was traveling at “a minimum of 49 miles an hour” when he struck Romero.

Romero’s parents and the public have since implored city officials to make public-safety changes to prevent more pedestrian deaths.

City engineers have dismissed the possibility of a traffic light at the Milpas-Ortega intersection, but are exploring other improvements, such as restriping Milpas to close the distance for pedestrians crossing the street.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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