Timothy Barnette of San Diego faces one count of gross vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, and felony DUI after crossing into oncoming traffic on state Route 56 in Rancho Peñasquitos. The 18-year-old man is accused of striking and killing Nicholas James Reynolds Hart while driving under the influence of several different chemicals and substances. After hearing evidence from eye-witnesses on Wednsday, a Judge ordered Barnette to stand trial on felony charges.
Blood drawn from Barnette about three hours after the crash revealed Xanax, marijuana, and a chemical compound known as Difluoroethane in his system. Difluoroethane is a chemical typically found in computer cleaning products that produces a type of high when “huffed,” which is what authorities think Barnetter may have been doing prior to the accident.
The crash occurred on a stretch of Route 56 near Black Mountain Road on May 16 just before 10 a.m., while 22-year-old Nicholas Hart, a former criminal justice student at Cal State San Marcos, was on his way to the funeral of a family member. Hart, a 2009 graduate of Poway High School, was killed instantly when a Toyota Land Rover, driven by Barnette, sped out of control, crossed over the median into the westbound lanes and slammed into his car.
At Berman & Riedel, LLP, our thoughts are with the victim of this unfortunate accident and his families, and it is our sincere hope that accidents like this can be avoided in the future through increased awareness of drivers. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident, please call our office today at (858) 350-8855 to talk with one of our attorneys. They will talk with you and help identify the rights you may have to be compensated for your loss.