A man who fatally struck a 75-year-old bicyclist in Solana Beach last year while driving drunk, then fled the scene, was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in state prison.
Lucas Beau Morgans, 22, pleaded guilty earlier this year to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other charges for fatally striking Allen Hunter II on June 22, 2021.
Hunter was struck from behind around 10:30 a.m. while riding in the bike lane on Highway 101. Deputy District Attorney David Jarman alleged the victim was dragged about 86 feet by Morgans’ vehicle after the impact.
Hunter was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he died that evening.
Morgans, who the prosecutor said had a blood-alcohol content of 0.169% about 90 minutes after the crash, was arrested later that day.
Morgans’ attorney, Michael Harkness, asked Superior Court Judge James Simmons for one year in jail, plus probation. The defense attorney said it was an unusual case that warranted probation because his client had suffered a traumatic brain injury and other ailments that gave him “the mind of a much younger man, a child to some extent.”
Harkness said his client had been drinking the night before and was woken up by his father on the morning of the crash because he was late for a doctor’s appointment. The attorney alleged Morgans got behind the wheel without fully realizing he was still intoxicated.
He also disagreed with the representation that he fled the scene without regard for Hunter. Harkness said he tried to call his mother from the scene, but could not reach her and wasn’t sure what to do.
He saw others were attending to Hunter, then drove home and reported the crash to police about half an hour later, Harkness said.
“He was a 21-year-old who was scared to death over what had just occurred,” Harkness told the judge.
But Simmons said a number of factors led him to find that a prison term was more appropriate, including that Morgans had lied to police by saying Hunter swerved into his lane.
Among those who spoke on behalf of Hunter were his son, Allen Hunter III, who told Morgans his father’s life was “gone because you couldn’t take an Uber.”
Rodney Stubbs was riding next to Hunter on the day of the crash when “all of a sudden, he disappeared.”
Stubbs said he and others pulled Hunter from underneath the vehicle, then watched it drive away.
“It could’ve been me,” said Stubbs, who told the judge that he was also speaking on behalf of the local bicycling community, which he said was “up in arms” over the crash.