CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A woman who ran over and killed a motorcyclist during a fit of road rage in the South Bay nearly two years ago was sentenced Friday to six years in state prison.
Darla Renee Jackson, 27, pleaded guilty in January to voluntary manslaughter.
Jackson had faced a second-degree murder charge in the May 28, 2015, death of 39-year-old Zacharias Buob, a U.S. Navy chief petty officer in special operations.
As the Buob asked for the maximum sentence for Jackson, they shared their pain and loss and said it all could have been avoided.
“She had every opportunity to change her mind and not chase my brother across two freeways,” said Andrea Cisneros, Buob’s younger sister.
“It’s pretty hard to understand why someone would get that angry. We still can’t get our head around it, your honor,” said Kathy Buob, the victim’s mother.
Defense attorney Stephen Cline said the evidence supported a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter, not murder.
Deputy District Attorney Laura Evans previously told a judge that Jackson passed Buob in the fast lane of northbound Interstate 5 near E Street, swerved toward him several times — causing him to flinch — chased him across four lanes of traffic, then ran him down on state Route 54.
Jackson was five feet behind Buob and going 80 mph when traffic slowed and she plowed into him, the prosecutor said.
“I know a lot of awful things were said about me that made all you believe I did this on purpose, I’m not that person,” said Jackson.
Jackson apologized to the family, calling her actions that day a mistake.
“I take full responsibility for all of them, but please believe me when I say I did not intend to harm your loved one. Please accept my heartfelt apology,” said Jackson.
California Highway Patrol Officer Brad Clinkscales testified at an earlier hearing that Jackson told him Buob passed her on northbound Interstate 5 in Chula Vista about 5:20 p.m., then slowed in front of her.
Jackson said Buob got on her right side, kicked her car, flipped her off, then sped across all lanes toward eastbound state Route 54, according to Clinkscales.
Jackson told the officer that she gave chase because she wanted to exchange insurance information with Buob and “wasn’t going to let him do that.”
Jackson said Buob accelerated to about 95 mph as he transitioned onto Route 54 and she tried to keep up.
She said traffic slowed and she tried to avoid hitting the back of Buob’s motorcycle, but she ran him over, pushing the motorcycle and its rider some 300 feet before it went down. Buob died at a hospital.
The judge said there was not enough evidence to prove Jackson intentionally killed Buob, but said he still believed Jackson still deserved time in prison.
“Stab a firefighter in the shoulder, not kill him, just stab him and you get nine years in prison, but you run over a member of the military on a motorcycle and you get six years,” said Gary Buob, the victim’s father. “Justice, to me, was not served.”