Driver in DUI hit-and-run sentenced to 180 days, 5 years probation |

Driver in DUI hit-and-run sentenced to 180 days, 5 years probation

Mozell Payton

A Grass Valley man who pleaded no contest to DUI and hit-and-run charges after crashing head-on into another vehicle was sentenced Friday to 180 days in jail and five years probation.

Mozell Payton, 46, was arrested Oct. 7 after he crashed into another vehicle on Freeman Lane and Taylorville Road and then fled the scene.

The victim told Grass Valley police officers she saw Payton’s vehicle approaching her with its high beams on, swerving into her lane. She tried to avoid the collision, but was unable to and the cars collided head-on.

Payton drove away but officers located his vehicle on Freeman Lane and Mill Street. The car had extensive front-end damage, and the air bag was deployed, authorities said. Payton reportedly had minor injuries and was taken to the hospital to be medically cleared. The victim was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

On Oct. 17, Payton pleaded no contest to driving under the influence causing injury, DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more causing injury, and leaving the scene of an accident.

During Payton’s sentencing in Nevada County Superior Court, Deputy Public Defender Thomas Angell noted that the probation department had recommended outpatient treatment.

“He has been extremely remorseful,” Angell said. “He is willing to take responsibility and get into some kind of treatment.”

Judge Candace Heidelberger said probation seemed appropriate, given Payton’s lack of prior criminal history. She sentenced him to 180 days in jail, with 90 days suspended pending completion of an outpatient substance abuse treatment and no probation violations, and five years supervised probation.

Additional terms in sentencing included no alcohol with search and testing, a nine-month DUI program and attendance at a victim impact panel. Payton’s license was suspended for one year and any vehicle he drives must have an ignition interlock device for one year.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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