BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A couple years ago, Joshua Ramage’s daily routine typically involved drinking a beer with breakfast and a couple more with lunch, eventually knocking back seven or eight during the course of the day.

He followed that pattern on May 1, 2021. That evening he met friends at a restaurant for dinner and drank a couple more beers. While driving home, he heard “two loud booms,” Ramage said.

“It sounded like I hit something,” he said.

He had — two bicyclists. Both were thrown from their bikes and suffered serious injuries; one had skull fractures and ended up in a coma.

Ramage, who testified Friday at his trial on DUI and hit-and-run charges, acknowledged he’d been drinking throughout the day but said he still felt he could safely operate a motor vehicle.

Under cross-examination, however, he admitted to feeling the effects of alcohol and guessing a breathalyzer test would measure his blood-alcohol content at 0.21%, far above the legal limit of 0.08%. The results showed he was at 0.25%, according to testimony.

The defense rested after Ramage’s hour-long testimony. Jurors will return next week for closing arguments, after which they’ll begin deciding whether Ramage was responsible for the crash or, as his attorney has argued, the bicyclists put themselves at risk by riding outside the bike lane with no reflectors or lights on their bikes and while wearing dark clothing.

The crash

Ramage, 43, is charged with three felonies: DUI causing bodily injury, DUI with BAC .08% or more and hit-and-run causing death or permanent serious injury.

The crash occurred at 9:14 p.m. on Stockdale Highway just west of California Avenue, south of the Vons grocery store.

Ramage testified he didn’t see the bicyclists before impact. He said he was driving straight in the slow lane when they collided and couldn’t immediately pull over because his Ford Excursion, traveling 45 to 50 mph, would have rolled. After turning north onto Rio Bravo Drive, Ramage said, he looked for a way back to the crash scene through the neighborhood.

That runs counter to what a witness reported seeing, prosecutor Tara Deal noted during cross-examination.

Earlier this week, the witness testified the bicyclists were traveling in the bike lane when the Ford veered to the right and struck them. The witness, traveling with her adult daughter, said they followed the Ford in an attempt to get its license plate number but the vehicle sped up, turned off its lights and got away.

Ramage disputed fleeing the scene, and said he never turned off his lights. He also said he never attempted to avoid or even saw anyone behind him.

Through questioning by his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Thomas J. Pope, he testified once he couldn’t find a way through the neighborhood he traveled back the way he came and stopped at a red light at Rio Bravo Drive and Stockdale Highway. Ramage said he intended to turn left onto eastbound Stockdale Highway, park at the post office and return to the bicyclists — but never got the chance.

Bakersfield police Officer Jeremy Wolter, dispatched to the crash and traveling east on Stockdale Highway, noticed the Excursion with damage to its right front side and surmised it was involved. He pulled Ramage over and, after conducting field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, arrested him.


Before his client testified, Pope called one of the bicyclists to the stand.

Doug Allmon, 54, said he and the other bicyclist, Lisa Brown, his girlfriend, ate at In-N-Out then rode west on Stockdale Highway in the bike lane, with her following directly behind him. He said the last thing he remembers is being stopped at a red light by the Chase Bank at 5660 Stockdale Highway.

In response to Pope’s questioning, Allmon said he wouldn’t be surprised to learn he tested positive for drugs after being taken to the hospital.

He said he “did a little crank” while helping a friend move a few days before he and Brown were hit. Crank is a slang term for methamphetamine.

Brown — who suffered the most severe injuries — wasn’t under the influence of anything, Allmon said. He added the meth didn’t impair his memory of what happened.

District Attorney’s office Investigator Matthew Iturriria, lead investigator in the case, testified a urine drug screen — the type of test which detected meth in Allmon’s system — can return positive results days after a single usage because certain drugs, including meth, can take two or even three days to be fully metabolized by the body.

But urine samples are “notoriously inaccurate,” Iturriria said, and are no longer used by Kern County law enforcement as evidence in criminal cases. The county shifted about a decade ago to only using blood tests in determining whether someone was impaired, he said.

In short, Allmon’s positive drug test doesn’t mean he was impaired at the time of the crash, according to Iturriria’s testimony.

As for the defendant, Deal, the prosecutor, asked a number of questions in an effort to get him to admit he knew he was impaired when he got behind the wheel, noting after he was pulled over he repeatedly told Wolter he knew he was going to jail.

Ramage testified he only said that because he’d been drinking and was involved in a crash, so he figured he would be arrested. He said he didn’t necessarily mean he was impaired.

Deal continued to push, pointing out other remarks he’d made, including his guess that his BAC was 0.21%

“That was my estimation at that time, yeah,” Ramage said.

He agreed it’s common sense not to drink and drive, and acknowledged it’s dangerous. Court records show Ramage has two prior DUI convictions, in 2010 and 2005.

Ramage testified he’s changed his behavior since the crash.

“I haven’t drank since that day,” he said. Closing arguments will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.