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Santa Rosa man gets prison in fatal crash

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A Santa Rosa man was sentenced to 19 years and four months in prison Thursday for a Rohnert Park drunken-driving crash that killed his passenger.

Rafael Prieto-Gonzalez, 24, received the punishment for the February 2014 crash that killed Abel Acosta, 44, of St. Helena.

Prieto-Gonzalez was under the influence of alcohol and drugs when he lost control of his car on Commerce Boulevard in Rohnert Park and crashed into a tree.

He initially was charged with murder because of a previous drunken-driving conviction but pleaded no contest earlier this year to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, vehicle theft and other allegations in a deal with prosecutors.

Under state law, Prieto-Gonzalez will be eligible for release after serving 85 percent of his sentence.

His request to postpone his sentencing so he could get married in the county jail was denied by Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite. Prosecutors argued he could just as easily tie the knot at San Quentin State Prison.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ppayne.

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