Nipomo woman receives 15 years to life for killing bicyclist
June 30, 2016
During 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.