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Indictment says street racers drove more than 100 mph

Posted: May 21, 2013 6:13 p.m.
Updated: May 21, 2013 6:13 p.m.

Two men identified as street racers charged with murder in connection with a fatal crash that claimed the life of their friend a year ago allegedly drove more than 100 miles an hour, on the wrong side of the road and made unsafe lane changes during their alleged “speed contest,” according to details of the grand jury indictment filed against them.

Colt Sean Doherty, 19, and Thomas Joseph Vensko, 20, both of Canyon Country, pleaded not guilty last week to charges stemming from the grand jury indictment, Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Monday.

They are charged on suspicion of second-degree murder in the death of Dakota DeMott, 19, also of Canyon Country.

DeMott died Jan. 10, 2012, when the Ford Mustang he was riding in slammed into a tree on Sand Canyon Road at Alamo Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Doherty is believed to be the driver of that car.

On Tuesday, Doherty and Vensko appeared in San Fernando Superior Court for a pre-trial hearing.

The pair had been scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing Tuesday but the indictment rules out the need for a preliminary hearing, Robison said.

The grand jury indictment against the pair was unsealed last week, revealing details previously undisclosed by prosecutors, Robison said.

Details of the indictment list sections of California’s Vehicle Code which the pair allegedly broke on the night DeMott died.

Their alleged traffic violations include:
- participating in a speed contest and/or exhibition of speed
- participating in motor vehicle speed contests causing injuries
- reckless driving
- unsafe speed
- driving in excess of maximum posted speed limit
- driving at a speed exceeding 100 miles per hour
- driving on the other side of the roadway
- making an unsafe lane change

The traffic violations were spelled out by prosecutors in describing the second criminal count they filed against Doherty — the charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

The same violations were itemized by prosecutors in their filing of a vehicular manslaughter charge against Vensko.

Doherty, according to the indictment, is also charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Since the two were arrested in August, Doherty has remained in custody while Vensko has not.

Doherty, who initially had his bail set at $1 million, now has bail set at $2.23 million as recommended by prosecutors acting on the grand jury indictment.

Prosecutors also wanted the judge to re-set Vensko’s bail to $1.2 million.

The judge, however, lowered Vensko’s bail “under protest by prosecutors” to $100,000, Robison said.

Vensko, who was released from custody in November after posting $100,000 bail on the initial charges filed against him, posted bond for a second time May 15 when he appeared in court and entered a plea of not guilty.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


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