BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield attorney will receive a seven-year prison term for a drunken driving crash that caused a traumatic brain injury to a correctional officer.
Henry Noto on Thursday pleaded no contest to a charge of DUI with bodily injury in exchange for the dismissal of another felony DUI charge, court records show. He faced a total of 11 years in prison on both charges.
Noto’s attorney, David A. Torres, said afterward this was a difficult case to negotiate in light of the evidence and because Noto is a colleague.
Torres said, “Mr. Noto will lose his license to practice law and will serve a substantial amount of time in state prison, but he is also remorseful and aware of the serious injuries suffered by the victims in this case, and he prays for their recovery.”
Noto is set to be sentenced Aug. 6.
The attorney failed to stop at a stop sign while exiting Interstate 5 at Highway 43 on Aug. 18, according to the California Highway Patrol. He hit a vehicle driven by correctional officer David Perez, 26, and pushed it into opposing lanes, where a third vehicle struck it.
Perez suffered injuries including a brain injury.
Noto and a female passenger, Heather Rush, 31, were also injured and taken to a local hospital. The driver of the third vehicle, 32-year-old Lucus Cotter, suffered moderate injuries but declined treatment, according to the CHP.
Noto’s blood-alcohol content was 0.16 percent, twice the legal driving limit, officers said. He has two prior DUI convictions.