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Case of fatal crash involving John Giumarra III sent back for further investigation

The District Attorney's office is sending the case of a fatal crash involving John Giumarra III back to police for further investigation.

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael J. Yraceburn said Friday the case is being returned to Bakersfield police investigators. He declined to comment as to what information prosecutors are seeking. 

Police have recommended felony charges of DUI and hit-and-run be filed against Giumarra, who has a prior alcohol-related conviction. Prosecutors have final say in what, if any, charges are filed. 

Attorney Jeremy Brehmer, representing Giumarra along with co-counsel H.A. Sala, said Friday his client is "very saddened" at the situation. Brehmer said it's traumatic for anyone to be involved in an incident where someone died.

"But we believe it was an unavoidable accident, which is consistent with the BPD statements at the scene and in the investigation," Brehmer said. 

Giumarra, 48, is a member of the prominent local farming family that runs Giumarra Vineyards Corporation. 

Police said Giumarra was driving in the 1600 block of Golden State Avenue when he collided with a bicyclist around 9:30 p.m. Jan. 16. He left the scene, and was found at a Mobil station on F Street.

Police determined he was under the influence and arrested him. The bicyclist, Angela Holder, 32, died the next day at Kern Medical Center.

Her bike was not equipped with lights or rear reflectors, police said.

In 2015, Giumarra pleaded no contest to a "wet and reckless" charge after police found him under the influence in a vehicle in the driveway of his home, Brehmer said. A wet and reckless charge carries much the same penalties as a DUI.

The charge, as with a DUI, includes a Watson advisal where the motorist is told if he or she drives drunk and someone dies as a result, they can be charged with second-degree murder. The murder charge carries a penalty of 15 years to life.

Jason Kotowski can be reached at 661-395-7491. Follow him on Twitter at @tbcbreakingnews.

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