The driver in the hit-and-run death of a tow-truck driver on Pacific Coast Highway in 2013 avoided jail time during sentencing last week after prosecutors failed to prove she was intoxicated or knowingly left the scene of a crime.
Jill Rose, 45, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and misdemeanor hit-and-run in the death of 45-year-old tow-truck driver Ronald Carver. Rose was sentenced in a Van Nuys court last Thursday to three years probation, one year in a supervised sober house and two months of volunteer work for Caltrans, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. Additionally, Rose’s driver’s license was suspended for three years and she was ordered to pay restitution to the victim’s family.
Both the DA’s office and an attorney for Rose told The Malibu Times there was no evidence presented in court showing that Rose had alcohol in her system at the time of the crash.
Toxicology reports did show “some narcotics” in her system, DA spokesperson Ricardo Santiago said. However, according to Santiago, felony charges were not justified in the case “because the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was either intoxicated or acted with gross negligence, as required for a felony vehicular manslaughter charge.”
Rose was also not charged with a felony because prosecutors could not prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Rose left the scene knowing that her car struck the 45-year-old Carver, according to Santiago.
On the night of Feb. 11, 2013, Carver was hit on the eastbound side of Pacific Coast Highway near John Tyler Drive as he prepared to load a disabled van onto the bed of his truck. The right-side tires of Rose’s gray Audi drove onto the ramp of the tow truck, striking Carver. Her car then went airborne, rolled 360 degrees and landed upright on the highway, according to the district attorney’s office. Rose then continued driving and crashed into a parked car two miles east near the Malibu Pier.
Judy Carver, Ronald Carver’s mother, confirmed that Carver’s family reviewed the proposed sentence before a judge handed it down last Thursday.
“[The DA] couldn’t prove enough. This is what we had to go with. There’s nothing we can do except for accept it,” she said in a telephone interview.
When asked why Rose’s sentence included a stay in a sober home, Santiago said it was because of the traces of narcotics found in her system.
Sara Azani, Rose’s attorney, said her client had no prior history of drug or alcohol use before Carver’s death.
“There’s no evidence of anything in her system [at the time of the crash],” she added.
Carver, who was a resident of Newbury Park and worked for Platinum Tow and Transport of Camarillo, was survived by his wife and three young children, ages 8, 11 and 13. Recovering from the loss of Ronald Carver has been a struggle, Judy Carver said.
“It’s tough. My daughter-in-law, she now has to raise three kids on her own, that’s going to be a tough road to take care of that. The kids are going through some tough times,” she said.
She described Ronald as a car enthusiast who was well known in Newbury Park.
“He liked off-roading, he had a jeep. He loved to work on cars,” she said. Carver spent many years working in the tow-truck business, she said.
Azani said her client had apologized to Carver’s family during court proceedings and was very remorseful.
“There’s no question that this is a tragedy, it’s a tragedy for the victim’s family but it’s also a tragedy for [Rose],” Azani said.
In the aftermath of Carver’s death, the Malibu community held a fundraiser to benefit his widow and children. Katherine Cimorelli, who helped organized the benefit and is a member of the singing sisters group Cimorelli, was the driver being assisted by Carver the night of his death.
A hearing to determine how much restitution Rose must pay for lost economic support to Carver’s family is scheduled for May 14.