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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Driver High on Methamphetamine Pleads Guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter

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:

The 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.

Smith 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.


Contact Information

Joe Langenbahn
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
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Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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