A Ramona man who drove drunk and caused a fiery head-on collision on State Route 67 that killed a recent graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University was sentenced Friday to nearly 12 years in state prison.
Roy Dunkin, 51, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury in the death of 24-year-old Lucas Riley. Mark Riley said his son’s name meant “giver of life, a perfect gift from God.”
“He learned to love a lot better than most of us do,” he said of his son, who was engaged to be married. The victim’s father said drinking and driving is a cultural problem that needs to be reflected in tougher laws. “These are murders, these are not accidents,” he said. “These are willful incidents. Unfortunately, they keep happening.” Because of the way the law is set up, Dunkin will only serve about half his sentence, Riley told reporters.“For anything of this severity, in any other crime, this would be different,” the victim’s father said. “And yet we’re lessening the effect through driving while intoxicated.”
Authorities said Dunkin was driving a GMC Denali truck on northbound state Route 67, south of Cloudy Moon Drive in Poway, about 7 p.m. when he veered into the southbound lanes and struck the rear panel of a late-model Buick and crashed head-on into Lucas Riley’s Mini Cooper.
The compact car burst into flames and Riley was pronounced dead at the scene. Dunkin had been drinking at his granddaughter’s birthday party and told police he had consumed three or four beers.
Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said Dunkin’s blood-alcohol level was between .16 and .18 percent — at least twice the legal limit — at the time of the crash. Defense attorney Suesan Gerard said Dunkin became depressed after his 26-year-old son committed suicide in 2014 and turned to alcohol to help ease the pain.
— City News Service
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