15-years-to-life for former assistant SRJC football coach in fatal DUI crash
In a highly emotional court hearing Friday, a judge sentenced a former Santa Rosa Junior College coach to 15 years to life for a fatal DUI crash on Lakeville Highway.
The sentencing played out before family and friends of Paulette Quiba, 21, a Sonoma State University business student killed in the 2017 collision.
Logologoa “Logo” Tevaseu, 37, was given the mandated, open-ended prison sentence for second-degree murder as well as an additional three years for drunken driving involving injuries. Five others were hurt in the collision.
Before issuing her sentence, Judge Dana Simonds heard from family and friends and Tevaseu, who sobbed as he spoke, apologizing to the Quiba family for their loss.
Quiba’s father, Pablo Quiba, Paulette’s sister Phoebe and two close family friends spoke, telling the judge of her life and its loss and how Paulette Quiba had inspired others. Most of the few dozen people in court were family and friends of the dead woman. They wore light blue T-shirts imprinted with her photo.
“Paulette was the embodiment of what is right in this world,” her father told the court, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
After the hearing, best friend Brittany Salud said the two had met through the Filipino community and that Paulette Quibo had encouraged her to get past fears in her life, including moving to Southern California after college, which Salud has now done. Quibo’s support “will stay with me,” Salud said.
SRJC’s head football coach Lenny Wagner also spoke. Defense attorney Joe Stogner called Wagner’s speech “very, very eloquent and heartfelt. He totally expressed his sympathy for the Quiba family and talked about his love for Logo and what a wonderful person Logo is in spite of his tragedy. It was very emotional.”
Tevaseu was “absolutely stricken, just crying very heavily,” Stogner said. “He just expressed how sorry he was and how deeply affected he has been by this tragedy.”
Officially, Tevaseu first will serve the three-year sentence and then start the 15-year-to-life term. He could receive some credit for the nearly two years he has been incarcerated during the court process.
“It’s a very significant sentence and appropriate. It was very tragic,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said Friday.
Tevaseu was convicted last December after a three-week jury trial. Jurors found him guilty of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while drunk, DUI with injuries and driving with a blood-alcohol amount over 0.08 percent.
The nighttime November 5 crash happened on the rural highway near Highway 37. Tevaseu had been crossing double yellow lines passing other drivers before his pickup smashed head on into Quiba’s sedan, prosecutors said. Three other vehicles were caught in the crash.
Quiba had been with her family that night in Concord, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their arrival in the United States. She said goodbye to her family and headed back to Rohnert Park, never making it home. She was a member of Phi Sigma Simga at the college and was active in her Oakley church, according to family.
The former coach had a blood alcohol level of 0.22%, or almost three times the legal limit for driving. He’d also had a 2011 DUI conviction stemming from a downtown Santa Rosa crash involving a high blood-alcohol level, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Tevaseu’s prior conviction meant he knew of the dangers of driving while drunk, resulting in the murder conviction.
Stogner, the defense attorney, had argued for a lesser manslaughter charge versus the murder count, disagreeing that his client had the intent to kill someone. He plans to file an appeal.