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Swanton to serve year in jail for death of friends

POSTED July 26, 2013 7:41 p.m.

 

 

A Turlock man was sentenced to a prison term Thursday for his role in a crash that claimed the lives of three men. However, a plea deal will limit his incarceration to the county jail.

Alexander Swanton pled guilty to one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for the 2011 crash that killed Dominic Coelho, 23, Duarte Nunes, 39, and Zachary Baker, 21.

Swanton was initially charged with three counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

On Thursday, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff sentenced Swanton to 10 years in prison, but suspended the sentence upon completion of 60 months probation. Swanton also was ordered to serve 365 days in the Stanislaus County Jail with one day of credit. He is eligible to apply for the county’s work release program.

“He needs to serve at least some time,” said Carrie Baker, the mother of Zachary Baker. “To me, it appears that he is not feeling any remorse. None of this is going to bring my son back.”

Additionally, the judge ordered Swanton to pay an actual restitution to the families in an amount yet to be determined and serve 100 community service hours.

Swanton was behind the wheel of a 2007 Cadillac that crashed in the early hours of June 28, 2011, on Walnut Road.

The California Highway Patrol report stated Swanton was driving at an excessively high rate of speed when he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to rollover several times. It was later learned Swanton was driving at 120 mph when the crash occurred.

“For a few minutes of foolishness, you took three lives,” said Dominic Coelho Sr., the father of Dominic Coelho. “I don’t know how or why you could be so reckless.”

Everyone except Swanton, who was wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle during the rollover.

Coelho and Nunes sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene. Baker died about a week later.

Swanton sustained minor injuries in the crash.

Prior to the sentencing, Swanton’s defense attorney Kirk McCallister told the judge his client would forever carry the burden of his actions that night.

“He is not sugarcoating this in anyway, because he has accepted the responsibility that he was driving,” McCallister said.

Swanton is scheduled to surrender to the county jail on Sept. 27.

 

 

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