A felony hit-and-run charge has been filed against a member of a prominent Bakersfield farming family who was involved in a crash that killed a bicyclist in January, the Kern County District Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
John Giumarra III, 48, also faces a misdemeanor count of driving while impaired, a DA’s news release said.
Attorney Jeremy Brehmer, representing Giumarra along with co-counsel H.A. Sala, said Thursday his client is disappointed in the DA’s findings and is looking forward to presenting evidence showing he was not at fault and did not attempt to flee the scene.
“We don’t believe there is any evidence to support a hit-and-run allegation in this case, but we are satisfied that no second-degree murder or manslaughter charges were filed since he was not at fault in the accident,” Brehmer 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, police said. He left the scene, according to police, and was found at a Mobil station on F Street, where officers determined he was under the influence.
The bicyclist, Angela Holder, 32, died the next day at Kern Medical Center.
District Attorney Lisa Green said police had requested felony DUI charges.
Those charges weren’t filed, she said, “because the law is absolutely clear that an individual must commit an independent unlawful act other than driving while impaired, and that act must be the cause of death.
“Giumarra did not commit any separate act that caused Ms. Holder’s death, therefore there was insufficient evidence to support the filing of a felony driving while impaired.”
If convicted, Giumarra faces up to four years in prison.
In 2015, Giumarra pleaded no contest to a “wet and reckless” charge after police found him under the influence in a vehicle parked in the driveway of his home, Brehmer has said.
A wet and reckless charge carries much the same penalties as a DUI.
Giumarra is a member of the family that runs Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, which packs and ships California table grapes and is headquartered just east of Bakersfield.