Courtroom gavel
A courtroom gavel. File photo

A drunk driver who fatally struck a jogger on a Lakeside roadway with his work truck three years ago was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in state prison.

Michael Jason Woodfill, 49, was convicted of second-degree murder by an El Cajon jury for the Aug. 27, 2018, crash that killed 41-year-old Susana Gotell, a mother of two. Jurors returned the guilty verdict after deliberating for less than two hours.

Gotell was struck at around 6:40 p.m. on Woodside Avenue, near Riverford Road, and later died at a hospital.

The California Highway Patrol said Woodfill was traveling eastbound on North Woodside Avenue near Riverford Road when his truck drifted to the right and hit a chain-link fence. Woodfill then overcorrected, steered the truck across the opposite lane and struck the victim, according to the CHP.

After striking Gotell, Woodfill’s truck continued down a dirt embankment and overturned onto its side. He was arrested at the scene.

Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright told jurors Woodfill was on probation at the time of the crash for a 2016 DUI conviction. That conviction allowed prosecutors to charge Woodfill with second-degree murder in connection with Gotell’s death, as DUI offenders are advised they can be charged with murder if they are arrested for another DUI in which someone dies.

The prosecutor alleged the defendant had a .21% blood-alcohol-content three hours after the crash, nearly three times the legal limit in California.

–City News Service