Lakeport man pleads no contest in fatal collision near Nice – Lake County Record-Bee
LAKEPORT—A 36-year-old Lakeport man recently filed a plea of no contest regarding an impaired driving accident that fatally struck a Clearlake Oaks man last September.
The defendant, Steven Michael Pruitt, was recently present in Lake County Superior Court and in custody for the scheduled jury trial.
During the hearing, the defendant filed a plea of no contest with the DUI – Under the influence of drugs while causing injury.
A plea of no contest means that the defendant agrees to accept the conviction for the crime, thus avoiding the factual admission of guilt.
The court accepted the defendant’s plea and the case was referred to the Lake County Probation Department for preparation of a pre-sentencing report.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 2, 2022.
The charges stem from an accident on the morning of September 22, 2021 when Pruitt was driving a blue Chevrolet Camaro west of Rodman Slough.
Pruitt would have crossed the solid double yellow lines, driving straight into the oncoming lane. The accused collided head-on with an eastbound Honda Civic, killing the driver, Lonnie Ray Sullivan, 64, of Clearlake Oaks.
The accused remains in custody with bail remaining set at $1 million.
Defendant suspected of drunk driving to plead this month
A four-vehicle collision last July in Clearlake Oaks that sent several people to the hospital left a Pacifica man facing numerous impaired driving charges.
Stephen Robert William, 38, was present by remote appearance and not in custody at Lake County Superior Court for a recent recall of his term.
In February this year, the defendant was not present because his attorney, Jonathan B. Steele, said his client still had medical issues from the car accident and asked that the case continue.
A felony warrant was issued for the accused on February 15, 2022 and he requested that the warrant be quashed.
The Court made no order at that time, but during the recent hearing, the Court recalled the arrest warrant.
The Court left the bond as set so that the following conditions would be imposed:
- Will not drive a motor vehicle unless you have a valid license and insurance
- Obey all laws
- Shall not possess or have under its control any liquor or enter any public place where the primary item sold or distributed is liquor. The defendant will refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages.
The case has been set for a hearing/plea settlement entry on April 12, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. in Department 3.
The defendant is ordered to be present and a Zoom appearance is acceptable.
The defendant was charged with seven counts of impaired driving – alcohol causing injury and three counts of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The charges stem from an incident last July when Williams was driving west on Highway 20 near Sulfur Bank Drive at an allegedly high speed when he collided with the vehicle in front of him.
According to CHP, the two vehicles passed each other in oncoming traffic, colliding head-on with other vehicles.
As a result of the collision, the accused suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Clear Lake CHP officers observed symptoms and an indication of alcohol intoxication and were arrested.
Three other people were airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center, one seriously injured and three others sustained minor injuries.
In another case, Williams was charged with hit-and-run with property damage.