Street Racer Pleads 'Not Guilty' In Crash That Killed 3by Jana Ritter - Published: 4/11/2016
While the hunt is still on for the second driver involved in the street race that killed a UPS driver and two teenagers, the driver who triggered the multi-vehicle was in court last week and pleaded not guilty to the three counts of second degree murder he's been charged with. His defense team also requested that his bail be lowered from $6.2 million to $250,000.
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Dealio Lockhart, 35, of Whittier, CA, was arrested at the scene of the deadly 5 Freeway crash on February 27th and was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and four counts of reckless driving on a highway causing injury. Lockhart has been in custody since his arrest and on Wednesday his defense lawyer, Dmitry Gorin also asked that his $6.2 million be lowered to $250,000, arguing that the defendant "had no intent to hurt anyone" and what happened was "an accident." Gorin told the court that Lockhart has no prior criminal record and had a very productive life as a college graduate who worked as a field producer on the TV show "Dancing With The Stars." The judge was given a package of three-dozen letters from those who knew and had worked with Lockhart, vouching for his character. Outside court, Gorin also stressed to reporters that his client cooperated with law enforcement after the crash and is "truly remorseful over the consequences."
However, Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake fired back saying that Lockhart was "playing Russian roulette" with his 4,000-pound Dodge Challenger, traveling at 127 mph 2 1/2 seconds before the crash. The prosecutor also pointed out that the race extended 11 miles from Beverly Boulevard to Washington Boulevard. "This was not a situation where you're dealing with an empty freeway," he said. According to the California Highway Patrol investigators, both “Dodge muscle cars were being driven aggressively, with the motorists jockeying for position near the Citadel Outlets.” When Lockhart approached a vehicle moving at normal freeway speed ahead of him, he tried to swerve around it but wound up losing control of his car. His Challenger hit a UPS 18-wheeler, which went airborne and over the center median, shearing off the top of an oncoming Nissan with four people inside, the CHP said.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Upinder Kalra heard both sides of the argument and ultimately denied the defense’s request to lower the bail amount. While the judge said he did not doubt that Lockhart had engaged in a "very positive life" in the past, it did not change the consequences of his actions that night. The crash killed UPS driver, Scott Treadway, 52, and two students Michelle Littlefield, 19, and Brian Lewandowski, 18. The other two people in the Nissan were critically injured and remain hospitalized, as the prosecutor pointed out to the judge. Two other people were also injured as a result of the crash. "Good people do bad things, and there are consequences," the judge said.
Meanwhile, authorities are still searching for the driver of the Dodge Charger who fled the scene. They are offering $36,000 in reward money for information leading to the driver’s arrest.