Guilty plea in fatal Tahoe crosswalk incident
May 20, 2013
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A Grass Valley man could face up to 12 years in prison for his role in a fatal pedestrian crosswalk incident on New Year’s Eve weekend 2011 on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.
On Monday, Christopher Torii Smith pleaded guilty to two felony counts of reckless driving, causing death in connection with the Incline Village incident, said Washoe County Deputy District Attorney Michael Bolenbaker.
Smith will be sentenced at a hearing Aug. 12 in Washoe County District Court in Reno, Bolenbaker said. Each felony is punishable by one to six years in prison. As part of a plea agreement, Smith will also plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence later this year at the James V. Mancuso Justice Court in Incline Village.
According to previous reports, Smith, who was 25 at the time, was driving a black 2006 Chevrolet pickup southbound on Highway 28, east of the Village Boulevard intersection, shortly before 8 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2011, when his truck struck Linda S. Mathis and Robert C. Mathis.
The two Incline residents, both 46, died from their injuries. According to published reports, witness statements and evidence at the scene indicate the victims were in or close to the painted crosswalk located near a bus stop when they were struck.
Smith allegedly had marijuana in his system at the time of the incident and failed to yield to the right of way of the pedestrians. The amount of marijuana in Smith’s blood was identified as greater than or equal to 5 nanograms per milliliter.
In a Friday phone interview, two of Smith’s attorneys with the Las Vegas Defense Group said uncertainty regarding Smith’s toxicology results led to the plea deal.
Kevin MacMillan is the managing editor of the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, a sister publication to The Union.