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Teen Driver in Fatal Accident Invokes Fifth Amendment in Civil Case

Attorney for the victim's family seeks to use information from the criminal case against Tyler Fourmy

The teen driver who hit and killed a pedestrian on Coast Village Road in 2010 has invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the related civil lawsuit, according to Santa Barbara County Superior Court documents. 

Tyler Fourmy, who was 17 at the time of the collision, was sentenced last October to Juvenile Hall, probation and community service after pleading guilty last year to vehicular manslaughter.

Fourmy was driving a minivan when he struck 47-year-old Florinda Flores while she was walking to a bus stop near her home on May 27, 2010. Flores died at the scene.

The case was handled by Judge Thomas Adams in Juvenile Court, but now Fourmy and his parents are involved in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Flores’ husband, Wolfgang Schulz, her brother, sister-in-law and daughter.

Fourmy and his parents, Patrick Fourmy and Susan Granziera, filed cross-complaints against Smitty’s Towing, the company that mistakenly destroyed the minivan Fourmy was driving, while the van was being held as evidence. The company’s contract with the City of Santa Barbara was suspended for a year because of the incident.

Jeffrey Young, the attorney representing Flores’ family, is trying to use information from the criminal case — such as interviews, depositions, photographs and police reports — in the civil case, which alleges the Fourmys were negligent.

Judge Donna Geck upheld Fourmy’s right to invoke the Fifth Amendment in a tentative ruling, saying the defense attorneys successfully argued that he can do so as long as Juvenile Court retains jurisdiction over him. Fourmy’s one year of probation and community service ends Oct. 17.

Attorneys for Fourmy and his parents also have filed protective orders to block some of Young’s subpoenas, which seek records from the Santa Barbara Unified School District and local law enforcement, according to court documents.

No trial date has been set yet but most likely will be at a September case-management conference, Young said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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