Fatal St. Patrick’s Day crash

VISTA (CNS) – A North Carolina man accused of driving drunk when he crashed a sports car on a rain-slick North County road early on St. Patrick's Day, killing a Marine passenger, pleaded not guilty to felony charges Thursday.

Patrick Lewis Barnett, 24, was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and drunken driving.

Judge Marshall Hockett set bail at $1 million.

The Oceanside Police Department said Barnett was swerving across South Coast Highway in Oceanside, intentionally making his 2005 Ford Mustang fishtail and spin out, when he lost control near Michigan Avenue shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday.

The car slid off the pavement and smashed into a palm tree, snapping it in half, Lt. Leonard Mata said.

Barnett's 25-year-old passenger died in the crash. The serviceman's name has not yet been released.

Medics took Barnett to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla for treatment of various injuries he suffered in the accident. He was arrested upon his release Tuesday.

The judge scheduled a readiness conference for April 2 at the Vista Courthouse.

Categories: KUSI