Monday, June 18 , 2018, 9:04 am | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Drunken Driver Sentenced to 35 Years in Death of Santa Barbara Runner

Gregory Doan pledges to donate pay he earns in jail to charity

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Jean Dandona’s courtroom was packed Tuesday morning as she handed down a sentence for Gregory Doan, 58, who pleaded no contest last month to 19 charges of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of vehicular manslaughter in the death of a Santa Barbara runner along Las Positas Road in August 2008.

Doan, 58, received a 35-year prison term, and he’ll never again be allowed to have a driver’s license.

Doan was arrested after the white van he was driving swiped a group of runners, killing one of them — 66-year-old Carolyn Samuels. The runners were part of a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training group.

Doan, who initially fled the scene, was found to be under the influence of alcohol.

The scene in the courtroom Tuesday was emotional as Samuels’ two daughters, and later Doan himself, spoke about the tragic incident.

“The defendant was very passionate about doing all he can to help the victim’s family,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who prosecuted the case. “It was very emotional — a very sad case.”

Although by law the state can garnish only 50 percent of the wages Doan earns in prison for victim restitution, Doan pledged that the rest of his pay will be donated to the Leukemia Society. His girlfriend — who attended the sentencing hearing among a crowd of Samuels’ friends, family and fellow runners — donated $100 to the organization.

Before 2008, Doan had been convicted of four DUIs, one of which — a 1992 incident in Lassen County — resulted in another person’s injury. When arrested for a DUI in 2008, Doan had been found to have opiates in his system, and his blood alcohol level was 0.21 percent, or about three times the legal limit.

Dudley said that although Doan has been in alcohol and drug counseling in the Santa Barbara County Jail, whether that treatment continues depends on the state prison he’s assigned. Many treatment programs in California’s prisons were cut amid the state’s budget crisis.

Under his plea agreement, Doan accepted 19 strikes in the state’s three-strikes system, meaning that if he is convicted of a felony after he is released on parole — which Dudley said is likely to be in 17 years, based on the state’s budget outlook — he will return to prison for 25 years to life.

Dudley said that in coming up with an appropriate sentence, the vehicular manslaughter charge was preferable to murder because of its requirement that Doan’s driving privileges be permanently revoked.

Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >