Nipomo woman receives 15 years to life for killing bicyclist

June 30, 2016

Michelle Yvonne HartDuring a teary sentencing hearing, a San Luis Obispo judge ordered a Nipomo woman to serve 15 years to life in state prison for killing a bicyclist while driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The woman also fled the scene after striking the bicyclist. [Tribune]

On Oct. 1, 2014, Michelle Yvonne Hart, 46, was driving southbound on Los Berros Road near Pomeroy Road in rural Arroyo Grande when she collided with the back of a bicycle that Glen Hurley Fulton was riding. Fulton, 48, fell off his bicycle and suffered fatal head injuries, even though he was wearing a helmet.

Hart fled but was arrested shortly after the crash. A blood test revealed Hart was under the influence of alcohol, methamphetamine and THC at the time of the collision.

Earlier this month, Hart pleaded no contest to felony second-degree murder and felony hit-and-run causing the death of another. She was previously convicted of DUIs twice in the 10 years prior to the fatal crash.

Hart, a married mother of four, faced a maximum sentence of 19 years to life in prison.

A county probation report stated Hart’s father abused her sexually, physically and mentally over a prolonged period. Hart’s father served 13 years in prison for his crimes against her.

During the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Hart cried and apologized to the victim’s family. Hart said she would spend the rest of her life trying to redeem herself through Bible study and by aiding others with substance abuse issues.

Hart also said she prayed that Jesus would take her breath away, but it  did not work. Now she hopes she can lead as many people as possible to Jesus, she said.

But, the victim’s family members said they would not forgive Hart. Bret Fulton, the victim’s brother, said Hart will never receive any forgiveness from anyone in the family because she fled the scene instead of trying to help the victim. Another brother who spoke Wednesday agreed.

Judge Jacquelyn Duffy said, for the first time in her career as a judge, county jail workers submitted a letter in support on an inmate. The letter stated Hart had participated in every self-help opportunity available to her, and she had much to teach other inmates.

Duffy appeared moved in the courtroom and said the case was a terrible tragedy for both the Fulton and Hart families. Prior to sentencing the defendant, Duffy said Hart had a turbulent past but let drugs and alcohol overtake her life.

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There has been a bit too much of this bad behavior getting a pass lately. Seems LEO or judges fall for the woe is me act and bail these killers out.

Drunks who kill other innocent people should spend the remainder of their lives behind bars, PERIOD…

I am appalled the Jail Staff wrote letters on her behalf. I am appalled Judge Duffy was so empathic towards a woman with a long consistent criminal history who killed a man then ran away. This woman is not only guilty of murder but of child abuse, child neglect, child endangerment towards her own 4 kids. Did the Jail Staff not see the heartbroken daughter being dragged to the visitations week after week? It was normal for her kids to visit her in jail because of her criminal history. Now 4 kids are left behind to be raised by a man who is not even their biological father. Originally she was looking at 30 years to life and she gets 1/2 of that sentence. What an outrage for the victim’s family.

if her daddy owned a winery, the perp would have received 75 days in jail.

Well, no doubt she’ll find God in prison, a lot do. I’m not sure why, but they do. Hopefully this will be a lesson for her children and they won’t repeat the same behavior…we can only hope.

Yet another example of the devastating affects of alcohol abuse…for whatever the reason.

I’ll drink to that.

Stop blaming others for your wrong doings… Personal responsibility !!!

Boo Hoo.

It was time to come to Jesus after the first DUI, Ms. Hart. But then another? And then the final result where you left a man to die after such a heinous act. This is such a tragedy for the Fultons and friends, as well as our society. I still think she should have got the maximum.

Will all the women who have been abused as young children please step forward…. Sorry, no more room as it is estimated that before this become a known public issue in the 60’s 2/3 in 5 children were abused. No defense as there is help for issues that plague us all in so many ways. We pay billions for programs for every evil, abuse, substance, etc.

I pray this woman does find her inner peace, heals and become the woman, mother and person that she is capable of being. First Step: no blame game, this is now your problem and I hope you can fix yourself as no one can do it but you!

Don’t make the assumption that only women are abused…

What is your point by generalizing abuse? Most women were abused, and since it was the norm the abuse can’t be used as a mitigating factor. You’ve paid your tax dollars for all the great( virtually unaccessible) programs and if the abused don’t seek them out it is on them.

Your second paragraph is spot on and could have stood on it’s own. Including the first seems to be your vehicle to indite all women in some fashion.

Not defending the actions here. She should go away for a long time.

Lot’s of drunks and lookey-loo’s out there…fog….bicyclist’s also need to pick better roads.

To the Fultons, I’m very sorry for your loss. To Mrs. Hart, I hope you know that YOU have the chance to make every day YOURS. Forgive your Father and those who have wronged you and move on if they don’t support you. Do your best to forgive yourself, come to peace, and help others. It sounds like you are doing good things. Life, simply, is not fair. Peace to all.