Friday, March 30, 2018

Man convicted of running over 2 women on Lake Tulloch


    On March 26, 2018 according to the Calaveras County District Attorney's Office, Dean Allen Payne (56) of Copperopolis, was sentenced to 12 years in state prison for driving a boat while intoxicated and causing great bodily injury to two.

    He ran over two women who were being pulled in an inner tube by another boat, causing them both great bodily injury, including prolonged comas and paralysis.

   Payne's blood alcohol was .238% on July 24, 2016, when he drove his Fountain Speed Boat at 45-55 MPH, running over Rachael Pringle and Robin Tsai.

   Payne left the scene, but was apprehended a short time later due to the intervention of good Samaritans at the lake.

   Both Pringle and Tsai suffered mult5iple bone fractures, severe blood loss, and traumatic brain injury resulting in permanent brain damage. 

   Doctors had to remove a significant portion of Tsai's skull during an emergency craniotomy.

   After hearing from at least 20 witnesses over the course of the 8 day trial, a Calaveras County jury found Payne guilty as charged on January 29, 2018.

   Deputy District Attorney Brad Jones tried the case on behalf of the Calaveras County District Attorney's Office.

   "The defendant's conduct was especially heinous due to the extensive injuries to the two victims, and despicable because of his prior riving under the influence conviction," Jones said.

   Payne was convicted in 2007 for driving on Obyrnes Ferry Road with a blood alcohol level of .19%. Unfortunately, under current California law, boating under the influence cases can only be enhanced by priors within 7 years, as opposed to 10 years for DUI cases.

   "We are thankful for the hard work and time the jury put into hearing this case, and also grateful for the people who helped the victims on the day of the tragedy and then came forward to testify," he added.

   At the sentencing hearing DDA Jones argued for the maximum sentence of 13 years, while the defense argued for probation.

   Judge Susan Harlan ultimately denied probation and sentenced Payne to 12 years in state prison.  "We believe the maximum was appropriate in this case, but we understand the Judge's decision and we are very relieved he was not granted probation," District Attorney Barbara Yook said.

   Prior to the trial, Payne had been out of custody after posting $105,000 bail.  Following the jury's guilty verdict, the Court remanded Payne into custody at the Calaveras County Jail, where he remains awaiting transportation to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

   Payne did not have insurance on his boat and the ongoing medical treatment costs for victims Rachael Pringle and Robin Tsai currently exceed 4 million dollars.

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