Woman gets probation in crash that killed firefighter
EL CAJON, Calif. — A woman who caused a head-on crash in Campo that killed a U.S. Forest Service firefighter on his motorcycle was sentenced to probation and community service Friday.
Natasia Wood, 22, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of 37-year-old Darin Steffey. The crash happened on a curvy portion of Buckman Springs Road around 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2013.
Wood faced up to six years in prison, but the judge sentenced her to three years probation. In add, she must serve 24 hours in jail on the anniversary of the accident.
California Highway Patrol Officer Benjamin Montgomery testified at a preliminary hearing in March that Wood was driving her roommate’s Dodge Durango SUV southbound on the two-lane road when she lost control on a sharp left turn and veered into the northbound lanes.
When the SUV entered the northbound lane it collided with Steffey, who was riding a Yamaha 600 motorcycle.
Montgomery testified that when he arrived on scene, Wood, who was uninjured in the crash, told him that she was driving 77 mph just before the crash occurred. The speed limit on Buckman Springs Road is 55 mph, and a sign just before the turn where Wood lost control and the crash happened warns drivers to slow down to 40 mph.
Steffey, who had just finished a shift at the Glen Cliff Fire Station, was heading into Campo to check his mail at a post office box and eat dinner, according to family members. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.