A Santa Barbara County Superior Court preliminary hearing ended with a New Cuyama man being ordered to stand trial on charges related to a vehicular hit-and-run incident that left a man dead in July 2017.
The preliminary hearing for Douglas Allen Lewis, 35, ended with Judge James Voysey determining enough evidence exists for the defendant to face a trial.
Criminal charges were filed May 24, 2018, 10 months after the incident that left Travis John Studer, 41, of New Cuyama dead near the side of the road on the 5000 block of Highway 166, according to the county Sheriff’s Department.
Lewis was arrested after the incident and released without any charges being filed while deputies conducted additional investigation into the incident, which occurred in the northeastern corner of Santa Barbara County.
The two men had been hanging out playing pool and drinking alcohol the night Studer was killed, according to court documents.
Lewis allegedly told detectives that Studer was pushing his buttons by making comments about having sexual relations with the woman the defendant was dating.
Studer reportedly had tire tracks across his body, and an autopsy revealed the cause of a death was multiple traumatic injuries, including a fractured elbow, several fractured ribs, a lacerated liver and spleen, and a punctured heart.
Lewis initially told deputies that Studer was armed with a bat as the confrontation escalated, recalling burning out sideways as he left.
He later denied going to Studer’s house to kill him, saying it was an accident.
Detectives recovered several text messages showing the heated exchange between the two men.
Deputy District Attorney John DeChaine is leading the prosecution while attorney Michael Scott is representing Lewis.
The case will return to court March 21 before Judge James McGregor for arraignment.
After the first case, Lewis was later charged with a misdemeanor spousal battery in June 2018 and for violating domestic violence court order in February 2019.
Lewis remains in Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $150,000.