Santa Rosa, CA – October 25, 2013 – District
Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that defendant Emile Carlitz
Smith, 34, of Sebastopol pled guilty today before the Honorable Kenneth
Gnoss to two felonies related to a vehicle collision that resulted in
the death of 34 year-old Selena Ross of Santa Rosa.
District Attorney Ravitch stated:
charges were the result of a traffic collision which occurred on
November 23, 2012. Defendant was driving a vehicle eastbound on Todd
Road, west of Phillips Avenue at a high rate of speed, when the vehicle
veered off the roadway and hit a tree. His passenger, Selena Ross, was
in the front passenger seat and took the full force of the impact,
succumbing to her injuries. A blood test taken at the hospital shortly
after the collision revealed Smith had a large amount of methamphetamine
in his system. Smith was initially uncooperative with officers and
denied knowing who Ross was, which resulted in a delayed identification
and notification to her family.
entered a no contest plea to driving a vehicle and causing a death with
gross negligence while intoxicated; driving under the influence of drugs
resulting in death; and to an enhancement of personally causing great
bodily injury. Both charges are strike offenses. In addition, he
admitted he was sent to prison on five separate occasions prior to the
current offense, which added one year to his sentence for each of the
prison terms. Smith is facing a maximum exposure of fifteen years in
state prison when he is sentenced on February 5, 2014, and will have to
serve at least 12 years (85 percent of his sentence) before being
released on parole.
The case was
prosecuted by Chief Deputy District Attorney Diana Gomez, assisted by
District Attorney Investigator Dave Kahl. Funding for this program was
provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety,
through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Officer Bill Harm of the California Highway Patrol headed the investigation.