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DA’s son given long prison term for fatal DUI

POSTED July 17, 2009 11:01 p.m.
Dylan Morse, the 18-year-old son of Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II, was sentenced to 12 years in state prison for a wreck that killed one and left his friend in a comatose state.
The sentence handed down Wednesday by Sonoma County Judge Ken Gnoss caught most parties off guard, as it was expected Morse would get half that time, which is what the victim’s family had been requesting.
In delivering the sentence, Gnoss said Morse had multiple opportunities to take a different course of action that night, but continued down the deadly path that resulted in the wreck.
Morse pleaded guilty in May to vehicular manslaughter and three counts of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury or death.
According to the prosecution, Morse was in Sonoma County on Feb. 14 to visit his friend Ryne Spitzer, 19. The two went to a fraternity party that night and after it was broken up by police, Morse used a fake identification card to buy beer.
The California Highway Patrol report states Morse, driving a 1998 Volvo, ran a red light and broadsided a 1998 Honda. The driver of the Honda, Alexander Ruiz, 22, of Oakland was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, Vanessa King, 25, of Oakland sustained a broken arm and collarbone and severe facial lacerations.
Spitzer suffered major head trauma and remains in a comatose state.
Morse’s blood alcohol level was .15, more than twice the legal limit for an adult of drinking age. He was also found to have marijuana in his system.
During the sentencing it was revealed that Morse had driven Spitzer to a DUI class the day of the wreck. Spitzer had been ordered to attend the class as part of a previous alcohol-related offense.
Morse was facing a maximum of 15 years in prison. Under state law he will have to serve 85 percent of his time, or 10.5 years, before he is eligible for release.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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