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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.

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