Grape grower John Giumarra III sentenced to 90 days in custody and five years probation

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John Giumarra III has been sentenced to 90 days custody through work release program, five years probation, 100 hours of community service and $2,018 fine.

Giumarra, 50, was arrested after he struck and killed Angela Holder, 32, as she rode her bicycle on Golden State Avenue near F Street at about 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2017. Police said he drove his SUV from the scene of the accident to a nearby service station, where he was stopped by police. 

Prosecutors charged him with misdemeanor drunken driving and felony hit-and-run. He faced a possible prison term on the felony.

Tests showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit to drive.

But on March 20, Kern County Superior Court Judge Judith K. Dulcich reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor. Giumarra pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor DUI and hit and run charges, setting up today’s sentencing.

Giumarra’s family owns Giumarra Vineyards, one of Kern’s largest employers.  A LinkedIn profile describes John Giumarra III as senior vice president and chief business officer of the company.

Prosecutors said the DUI could be charged only as a DUI – rather than murder or manslaughter – and only as a misdemeanor because the accident was not Giumarra’s fault.

Investigators at the scene said Holder was crossing the dark street middle of the block, had no lights or reflectors on her bike, wasn’t wearing a helmet, and was wearing dark clothing. 

Giumarra was arrested on DUI charges in 1987, but those charges were reduced and he pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

In 2015, Giumarra was charged with drinking and driving again, but those charges were reduced and once again Giumarra pleaded guilty to reckless driving, in lieu of DUI.

As part of that plea, Giumarra was placed on probation. He was still on probation when he was arrested in January 2016. 

Giumarra must report by April 13, 2018. 

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