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Preliminary Hearing Set for Driver Who Collided with Canadian Motorcyclists

A preliminary hearing is expected to begin later this month for a man suspected of felony DUI after a crash that left a Canadian couple critically injured earlier this year.

Martin Maguire

Martin Maguire, 51, of Montecito was arrested on felony DUI charges on May 29, after police reported that his SUV slammed into James Atwood, 63, and his wife, Ellen, 59, who were riding their motorcycle near Montecito.

The Atwoods both suffered major injuries in the collision.

Officers on the scene told Noozhawk that the collision occurred as the pair were following another couple on a motorcycle westbound in the 800 block of Old Coast Highway, near the Montecito Country Club, after Maguire’s Toyota 4Runner SUV crossed over the center line, striking the couple head-on.

Both victims have had legs amputated, and after an extended stay at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital have been recovering in hospitals near their home in Orangeville, Ontario.

Maguire's preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial on the charges, is scheduleed to begin Oct. 31.

The defense is expected to ask the judge to reduce Maguire's charges to misdemeanors, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Arnie Tolks.

Earlier this year, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Thomas Adams refused to reduce Maguire’s bail and allow his release. Maguire has posted his $100,000 bail and is out of custody. He has entered a not-guilty plea.

Maguire is facing charges of driving under the influence and special allegations of causing great bodily injury to the Atwoods, according to the criminal complaint against him.

Maguire’s blood alcohol level is not available because his lab results are still pending, the complaint states.

On Jan. 6, 2009, Maguire was arrested on the 1700 block of Cliff Drive, according to police records obtained by Noozhawk.

“Fire personnel followed a vehicle on Cliff Drive and reported to police the vehicle appeared to be swerving into oncoming traffic,” the report states.

Officers responded and said Maguire’s speech was slurred and that he was unable to complete a series of field sobriety tests.

“In a search of his vehicle, a bottle of medication was located with four different types of pills inside,” two of which — Lorezapam and Hydrocodone — Maguire did not have a prescription for.

Maguire’s charges were ultimately reduced from DUI to reckless driving, and he was sentenced to a year of probation and a $1,040 fine, court records show.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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