Abel Maldonado’s son charged with manslaughter

September 25, 2014
Abel Maldonado

Abel Maldonado

The Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the 16-year-old son of former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado for a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge in connection with the death of a cyclist. The teen is due in court on Friday.

On Aug. 9, Maldonado’s 16-year-old son, who is not being named, was the driver and his 18-year-old son Nicolas Maldonado was a passenger in a truck towing a horse trailer when it struck and killed a Chula Vista man on Foxen Canyon Road in Santa Maria. Matthew Troy O’Neill , 33, was pronounced dead at the scene.

In addition to manslaughter, prosecutors are charging Maldonado’s 16-year-old son with failing to comply with several state driving laws. State law prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from transporting passengers under 20 years of age unless “accompanied and supervised by a licensed parent, guardian, or other licensed driver 25 years of age or older.”

Neither of the Maldonado brothers was injured in the accident. Investigators do not think drugs or alcohol were a factor in the incident.

In July 2012, Nicolas Maldonado was riding with his mother when a driver failed to heed a stop sign also on Foxen Canyon Road in Santa Maria. The driver of that car died and Maldonado and his mother were sent to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

At that time, Abel Maldonado was running for congress. Investigators determined the deceased driver was at fault for the accident.



  1. Russ J says:

    Tragic for sure and my sympathy for the deceased and the living. Bicyclists need a place to ride. We need bike lanes throughout Santa Maria and South SLO county. I can’t comfortably ride my bike from Pismo to Nipomo and I wouldn’t dare ride my bike from Nipomo to Santa Maria. Pismo to SLO has a safe bike route, why not some south county bike lanes. With everybody clamoring about global this and global that, solar this solar that – why can’t you government pukes lay a little asphalt down and give me a little more than eight inches of shoulder to ride on. Lord knows I pay enough taxes; give a little something back!

    (0) 12 Total Votes - 6 up - 6 down
  2. diamond says:

    As with other politicians kids, this one also, will never spend one day in jail.

    (6) 20 Total Votes - 13 up - 7 down
    • ironyman2000 says:

      Think maybe the “politician’s kid won’t spend a day in jail” maybe because, uh, duh,
      he wasn’t at fault????

      (-2) 16 Total Votes - 7 up - 9 down
  3. Ted Slanders says:

    First thing, it is terrible that Matthew O’Neill had to leave this planet and has left behind family and friends that mourn his death. It’s not easy losing a friend and family member.

    Once again we revisit the bicycle on California Highways and streets with another deathly outcome. Since we do not know all of the details of the accident, nonetheless, a glaring fact is shown in the new’s article, to wit: “A 16-year-old — who struck and killed Matthew O’Neill as he bicycled west along a narrow straight stretch of Foxen Canyon Road in Santa Maria last month…….” Key word in this statement is “NARROW.” Why do bicyclists take it upon themselves to travel on roads that are not only dangerous at times to the automobile, but really dangerous to bicycling? Why? Is it a challenge at the expense of safety?

    Bicyclists feel entitled to go on any road they please and demand it to be “shared,” but the word is more like “accommodated.” The California highway system was built for the automobile, and NOT for the Lance Armstrong’s and their “free ride” upon same. Roads and streets were “squeezed” to allow bike lanes so they could ride where only the automobile should be the only form of transportation. Yet they have the audacity to disparage the automobile driver in their demand for their safety!

    Seemingly to make matters worse, Matthew is riding one of those new fan dangled bikes where it looks like it’s not as controllable and safe as the normal bicycle design. As if bicycling isn’t dangerous enough, let’s pick out a bicycle design that is not as controllable and different at the expense of one’s safety.

    Bicyclists, you ride at your own risk, because you will NEVER be able to legislate that all drivers are to accommodate you 100 percent of the time in a safe manner, and this is barring the bicyclist actually following the DMV laws in the first place for their own safety!

    (16) 64 Total Votes - 40 up - 24 down
    • DDAG says:

      Well stated, Ted. This is a beautiful area, and I can understand the temptation to ride along the highway and take it all in. However, bicyclists are endangering vehicle drivers regularly. I see it often on the 227 where cars need to make room for the bike, but to do that you have to cross the center line on a two way highway.

      (4) 26 Total Votes - 15 up - 11 down
    • ironyman2000 says:

      “deathly” outcomes do have their place. It’s the deadly ones that are pesky.

      (-2) 6 Total Votes - 2 up - 4 down
  4. Pelican1 says:

    A sad and tragic way to begin and end two young lives. My condolences to both families.

    (23) 31 Total Votes - 27 up - 4 down

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