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Alleged Santa Clarita Street Racing Death Case Continued To May

Alleged Santa Clarita Street Racing Death Case Continued To May

The case against two Santa Clarita men accused of a fatal Sand Canyon street race was continued another three months, this time for a pretrial hearing in May.

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The case was continued to May 9 for additional discovery,” according to an email from Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office.

In January, the court heard a Pitchess motion, which is when a defense attorney seeks to attain the records of a law enforcement officer involved in an investigation, according to court records.Colt Doherty

It’s been more than two years since the night Colt Doherty and Thomas Vensko allegedly raced at a high rate of speed down Sand Canyon.

Doherty crashed his Ford Mustang that night, killing 19-year-old Dakota Demott, who was a passenger in Doherty’s car,
according to investigators.

Doherty has been in custody since Aug. 8, 2012, on a murder charge in lieu of more than $1 million bail. He turned 21 in Men’s Central Jail in December.Dakota Demott

Vensko, who is accused of racing Doherty in the incident, had his bail reduced to $100,000 after a Nov. 6 hearing, and was later released after making bail.

Thomas Vensko

When Doherty entered a curve, he lost control of the car and collided with a large oak tree, the impact of which ejected Demott from the vehicle and threw him into a fence, according to records. Demott was declared dead at the scene.

Doherty reached speeds of 100 mph before he crashed into a tree near Sand Canyon Road, according to the indictment.

Related article: Defendant Posts Bail In Fatal Sand Canyon Crash

 There have been several delays in the case, which included a change in prosecutors, with Ken Chiu recently taking over the case for Ruby Arias-Giroux from the District Attorney’s Office.

Demott’s family is also involved in a lawsuit against the defendants and the city of Santa Clarita, which is expected to go to court after the cases are completed.

Related article: Santa Clarita Named In Wrongful Death Suit Over Alleged Street Racing

The lawsuit was first filed Dec. 19, 2012, five days after Vensko and Doherty pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the crash.

The scene of an alleged street racing death

The city has authorized the law firm of Burke Williams and Sorensen for its defense.

The indictment includes three counts for Doherty: a murder charge; a gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charge; and a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Vensko, 21, is being charged with count 1, which is the murder charge, and count 4, which is vehicular manslaughter.

Additionally, Vensko is accused of fleeing the scene of the crime.

Witnesses had told deputies that there were other vehicles involved in the crash. Vensko was arrested because he was racing Doherty before the crash occurred, according to traffic investigator Deputy Mike Shapiro.

“Even though he didn’t cause the death directly, because he was street racing, he faces the same penalty as the driver,” Shapiro explained.

Vensko had two passengers in the car with him, but they are not being charged.

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Source: Santa Clarita News

Alleged Santa Clarita Street Racing Death Case Continued To May

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About Perry Smith

Perry Smith is a print and broadcast journalist who has won several awards for his focused, hyperlocal community coverage in several different regions of the country. In addition to five years of experience covering the Santa Clarita Valley, Smith, a San Fernando Valley native, has worked in newspapers and news websites in Los Angeles, the Northwest, the Central Valley and the South, before coming to KHTS in 2012. To contact Smith, email him at