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11-year sentence in crash that killed Santa Rosa woman

A Sebastopol man has been sentenced to 11 years in state prison in the death of a Santa Rosa woman in a 2012 car crash.

Selena Ross, 34, was killed Nov. 23, 2012, when she was a passenger in a car being driven by 34-year-old Emile Carlitz Smith that veered off the road and hit a tree. Smith was determined to have been driving at high speed eastbound on Todd Road, west of Phillips Avenue, when he lost control of the vehicle.

Tests showed Smith had a large amount of methamphetamine, as well as heroin, in his system at the time of the crash.

Ross, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, took the brunt of the impact when the car hit the tree.

Smith was initially uncooperative and denied knowing Ross, delaying the investigation, prosecutors said.

In November, Smith pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and while intoxicated, and to felony driving under the influence of drugs resulting in death. There was also an enhancement of causing great bodily injury.

Smith admitted to five prior stints in prison, exposing him to a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. He is required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

The conviction gave him two convictions under the state's three-strikes law.

Staff Writer Kerry Benefield can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@ press democrat.com or on Twitter @benefield.


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