Convict who drove into bakery to be sentenced, faces 15 yrs. - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Convict who drove into bakery to be sentenced, faces 15 yrs.

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Sentencing was scheduled Wednesday for a man who ran his car onto La Jolla sidewalk last summer while under the influence of marijuana, injuring three teens and two adults.

Ronald Troyer, 66, was convicted last month of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, hit-and-run and a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license. Jurors deliberated just two hours before reaching their verdicts.

The defendant -- who has two prior DUI convictions and several convictions for driving on a suspended license -- could be sentenced to as much as 15 years in prison.

The victims were injured about 6:30 p.m. last Aug. 15 when Troyer's car veered onto the sidewalk, then crashed into the Cass Street Cafe & Bakery.

Deputy District Attorney David Uyar said in his closing argument that Troyer had smoked marijuana at some point before his car plowed into the teenagers and bakery.

Uyar said Troyer tried to shift the blame away from himself after the crash, saying things like, "Oh this is bad," "Someone stole my car," "I wasn't driving" and "I must have blacked out," along with blaming the crash on mechanical failure.

The prosecutor said Troyer's blood was drawn three hours after the crash, and marijuana was found in his system.

Witnesses at the crash scene thought Troyer was under the influence of something, Uyar said. The notion that the marijuana detected in Troyer's system had been there for a week was "rubbish," the prosecutor said.

"He smoked recently," Uyar told the jury.

Defense attorney David Thompson told the jury that there was reasonable doubt that Troyer was under the influence of marijuana or any other substance at the time of the crash and suggested he suffered a seizure.

Thompson said Troyer was driving normally beforehand, then "all of a sudden, something happened."

"That could have been the seizure right there," the defense attorney said. "Something happened in his body and it wasn't the pot. Seizures don't give notice."

Passenger Jeffrey Stewart testified that he tried to get Troyer to pull over just before the crash.

Stewart, who described Troyer as a friend, said they were driving toward a scenic vista to look at the surf when the defendant spotted a classic 1956 Chevrolet carrying some young people and then, without explanation, took his foot off the accelerator and coasted at a slow speed.

When the vehicle struck the curb of a roundabout, Stewart said he suggested to Troyer that he stop driving but instead of stopping, Troyer straightened out the sedan, "put the pedal to the metal" and took his hands off the steering wheel.

"He just kind of punched it and fell back in his seat," Stewart said. "I feel there is something wrong with this man."

He said he tried to put his own foot on the brake and braced for a collision. The defendant's eyes showed a "piercing madness" and "some type of anger," Stewart said.

He said Troyer did not say a word as they "barreled" over another roundabout, hit the teens and went into the bakery, or in the moments immediately after the crash.

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