WOODLAND — It took a Yolo County jury three hours Thursday to find a Woodland woman not guilty of felony hit-and-run in connection with a June incident outside the local 7-Eleven store.
Kristal Ellen Sutton, 28, faced anywhere from probation to up to four years in prison had she been convicted of unlawfully leaving the scene of the June 30 incident, in which she ran over 58-year-old Alisa Horner with her car.
“This was a tragic accident, but not a crime. The jury came to the right conclusion,” Sutton’s attorney, Public Defender Tracie Olson, said following the verdict.
Deputy District Attorney Larry Eichele, who prosecuted the case, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Sutton told police that an intoxicated Horner had confronted her as she left the East Main Street convenience store, prevented her from shutting her car door, then stuck her head through Sutton’s open window and slapped her in the face.
Horner reportedly continued to hang onto Sutton’s car as Sutton backed out of the parking stall, then stood in front of the vehicle as Sutton drove forward over the woman, causing injuries from which Horner would die two days later. Witnesses said Sutton cursed at a gathering crowd before driving to her home a quarter-mile away.
Eichele alleged during his opening statement that Sutton fled the scene because she was uninsured and did not want her car impounded, while Olson contended that her client left because she feared for her personal safety.
The three-day trial saw testimony from Woodland police officers who responded to the alleged hit-and-run scene and who had reported past encounters with Horner. The Woodland resident had a lengthy history of alcohol-related offenses, including multiple arrests for public intoxication.
Jurors received the case at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, broke for lunch and had reached their decision by about 3 p.m. The six-man, six-woman panel left the courtroom immediately after the verdict was read.
— Reach Lauren Keene at email@example.com or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene