Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 7:23 pm | Partly Cloudy 65º


Local News

Fourmy Defense Asks Judge to Dismiss Vehicular Manslaughter Case in Death of Montecito Woman

Judge hears arguments that teen can't defend himself against key charges because his minivan was destroyed by mistake

A Santa Barbara County juvenile court judge is considering a defense motion to dismiss a vehicular manslaughter case after hearing opposing arguments Tuesday morning.

Public defender Mark Saatjian, who is representing Tyler Fourmy, the 18-year-old defendant, argued that the case should be dismissed entirely. Fourmy is accused of striking 47-year-old Florinda Flores with the minivan he was driving as the Montecito woman walked to her bus stop on Coast Village Road on the morning of May 27, 2010. Flores was hurled into the Butterfly Lane intersection and died of her injuries.

Fourmy, who was 17 at the time of the collision, has denied the charges, which include the transportation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, which were reportedly found in the minivan; three vehicle-code violations related to speeding, turning movements and required signals; and lack of evidence of financial responsibility upon request. He and his parents, Patrick Fourmy and Susan Granziera, are now involved in a wrongful-death civil lawsuit filed by Flores’ family.

The 1995 Toyota Previa minivan Fourmy was driving figures prominently in the criminal case as well as the lawsuit. The vehicle was mistakenly sold by Smitty’s Towing and destroyed two months after the collision, which Fourmy and his parents argue left them without a full defense. Fourmy alleges that the minivan had mechanical issues while his parents, who have filed a cross-complaint against Smitty’s Towing, claim the van worked fine.

The Santa Barbara Police Department impounded and investigated the vehicle, but when Officer Mark Hunt, the traffic investigator, returned to the Smitty’s Towing lot in Goleta to take additional pictures, the minivan was missing.

According to Hunt, about two months after the collision, the vehicle was sold to a company in Ventura, where it was destroyed. As a result of the incident, Smitty’s Towing was suspended from police department work for one year.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Tom Adams heard the arguments by Saatjian and Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen in his chambers, where no members of the public or media were allowed. They discussed the issue for more than an hour and, afterward, Nguyen told Noozhawk that Adams took the motion under submission and will make a ruling later. No other information left the room.

The trial, which was supposed to start this week, will likely take place in August if the case goes forward.

Nguyen’s two pre-trial motions weren’t heard Tuesday and will be discussed at a later time.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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 >