Woman pleads guilty to fatal DUI collision with bicyclist

VISTA — A Carlsbad woman in her early 20s pleaded guilty on Jan. 12 to driving drunk and causing the death of a cyclist who was riding his bike to a nearby hotel where he worked.

A six-year sentence is scheduled to be imposed on Julianne Elise Thomson, 23, on March 12, for causing the tragic death of Vista resident Arthur John Jacobs, 64.

“She was facing a range of sentences, from a felony probation term all the way up to 15 years in prison,” said Aimee McLeod, the county prosecutor on the case.

Thomson maintained a not guilty plea even after a judge found enough evidence at a November 2011 hearing for her to stand trial for the drunken crash that killed Jacobs as he bicycled to work.

But the plea agreement was reached before the trial began.

Jacobs was struck by a Ford F-150 that crashed into him and a block wall on El Camino Real, just north of Cassia Street at about 9:45 p.m. on July 27, 2011.

Carlsbad Police found Thomson hiding in some bushes at an apartment complex around the corner from the fatal crash about 15 minutes after it was reported.

A witness told authorities that the driver of the truck crashed into a curb and bushes, and then fled at a high speed into the nearby apartment units, according to Lt. Paul Mendes of the Carlsbad Police.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge K. Michael Kirkman had set Thomson’s trial for Jan. 23, and she faced charges of hit and run causing death, gross vehicular manslaughter, a DUI causing injury and a DUI with a blood-alcohol level .08 or higher.

McLeod said Thomson’s blood alcohol level was measured at .25, which is more than three times the legal limit.
McLeod said the victim’s family is expected to be present at the sentencing hearing. The victim lived with his daughter and worked at The Park Hyatt Aviara.

The fatal crash was located less than 2.5 miles from Jacobs’ work.

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