Santa Rosa, CA – October 7, 2020 – Defendant Wayne Thomas, 64 years old of Santa Rosa, was sentenced on Friday, September 25th by the Honorable Troye Shaffer to the maximum sentence of one year in county jail after pleading no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for causing the death Sebastopol resident Guadalupe Martinez in 2018. In an unrelated proceeding, Thomas was also ordered to serve an additional one year in county jail, and three years on probation, after pleading no contest to five separate counts of driving after his license had been suspended.
The manslaughter charge resulted from a head-on traffic collision that occurred on September 29, 2018 on Gravenstein Highway, near Sebastopol. Driving eastbound in a commercial truck, Thomas crossed the solid yellow lines, entered into the opposing traffic lane, and caused a head-on collision with a vehicle traveling westbound. Victim Guadalupe Martinez was a passenger in that vehicle. Prior to the collision Thomas had been designated a “habitual traffic offender,” and his license had been suspended for DUI offenses.
At sentencing, the court heard statements from several family members of Guadalupe Martinez, including her daughter Julie Clark, son Larry Martinez, and nephew, Vincent Lagomarsino.
In a letter submitted to the court by the victim’s son Larry Martinez and his wife Lorri Martinez, they stated, “While her suffering ended ours continues every day… Our family has lost a mother, grandmother, aunt and sister in a senseless death.” In response to the sentencing Julie Clark stated, “I know this is supposed to give my family closure but it will never be able to take the pain away or heal our broken hearts.”
Defendant Thomas will be required to serve two years in county jail before being released on probation.
This case was prosecuted by DDA Robert Blade of the District Attorney’s Vertical DUI Unit. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. California Highway Patrol Officer Ronald Chastain headed the investigation.