Woman sentenced in head-on crash that killed a firefighter case
EL CAJON (CNS) – A woman who caused a head-on crash in Campo that killed a U.S. Forest Service firefighter was sentenced Friday to probation and was ordered to speak in the community about the dangers of speeding and to spend 24 hours in custody on the anniversary of the victim’s death.
Natasia Wood, who could have been sentenced to up to six years in prison, was also given a one-year suspended jail term by Judge Laura Halgren.
Wood, 22, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of 37-year-old Darin Steffey. The crash happened on a curvy portion of Buckman Springs Road around 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2013.
California Highway Patrol Officer Benjamin Montgomery testified at a hearing in March that Wood was driving her roommate’s Dodge Durango SUV southbound on the two-lane road when she lost control on a sharp left turn and veered into the northbound lanes.
When the SUV entered the northbound lane, it collided with Steffey, who was riding a Yamaha 600 motorcycle.
Montgomery testified that when he arrived on scene, Wood, who was uninjured in the crash, told him that she was driving 77 mph just before the crash occurred. The speed limit on Buckman Springs Road is 55 mph, and a sign just before the turn where Wood lost control and the crash happened warns drivers to slow down to 40 mph.
Steffey, who had just finished a shift at the Glen Cliff Fire Station, was heading into Campo to check his mail at a post office box and eat dinner, according to family members. He was pronounced dead at the scene.