Driver in Los Gatos Fatal Crash Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison

Justice delivered almost three years after the death of passenger Aaron Vega and debilitating injuries to two other passengers riding in TImothy Priolo's vehicle Jan. 31, 2010.

During a court trial hearing Friday, Nov. 16, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Philip H. Pennypacker sentenced Timothy Priolo for the offenses—the first one which took Vega's life, a passenger in the front seat of Priolo's black Ford Mustang.

The solicitation of murder charge stemmed from investigations which revealed that between March 24 and May 18, 2010, Priolo plotted with Daniel Chavez to kill a Santa Clara County assistant district attorney while in jail, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tim McInerny.

In total, Priolo had been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, felony fleeing from a police officer causing the death of another person, misdemeanor driving on a suspended or revoked license and felony solicitation of murder.

Vega's father was present during the sentence and spoke about the loss of his son due to the accident.  

Prosecutors had sought an enhancement to the charges due to injuries suffered by one of the two other passengers who were also riding in the car during the fatal crash that occurred when Priolo's vehicle crashed into a tree and two poles at the intersection of Los Gatos Boulevard and Nino Avenue.

Priolo, 26, had plead no contest to the charges. An enhancement sought for Leon's injuries added three years to his sentence.

Passengers Arturo Leon and Nicholas Chadbourne suffered a fractured vertebra and fractures on both legs, respectively. "These passengers have not been right since the day of the accident. Leon is suffering from a debilitating back injury and the other passenger has his legs shattered," McInerny said.

Priolo's license had been suspended as he was facing a DUI charge, which is "probably the reason he was fleeing from the police," the prosecutor added.

"The Vega family is very forgiving toward Mr. Priolo, but they were misled about some of the facts in the case," McInerny said.

Priolo will have to serve 85 percent of his time in prison, as opposed to 50 percent. He had credit for about 1,000 days of jail time served, McInerny noted. "He probably has another seven or eight years to serve," he said.

McInerny explained Priolo was entitled to a sentencing hearing before Jude Pennypacker where he could have presented evidence as to why he should be placed on probation and not serve any jail time.

"I presented evidence of his driving history and why I felt he should be given the maximum possible sentence and the defense presented evidence of medical conditions that they felt were important in the sentencing," McInerny said, adding that he was asking for a 15-year prison sentence. "We're satisfied with the sentence."

McInerny claims Priolo was driving 150 mph in a 25 mph zone and had smoked marijuana the night of the accident. "His conduct was so bad and so egregious and somebody died as a result of that. He deserved to go to prison for the most amount of time allowed by law."

Attorney Robert Coppola, who represented Priolo, has not returned phone calls seeking comment.

The case finally saw justice after almost three years in the legal system, NcInerny noted. He will now be reviewed by the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections which will study Priolo's case and determine the best jail placement for him, McInerny.

Cassie November 25, 2012 at 06:44 PM
In the three years he has been there he has already started.
Nick November 25, 2012 at 07:25 PM
The facts in this story aren't even correct!! I was a passenger in this car and I don't have shattered legs!!!
Nick November 25, 2012 at 07:39 PM
This story is completely one sided, not to mention that almost all facts stated in this sorry excuse for a news article are false! Both passengers don't have any medical problems, and to say we haven't been right since the accident is rediculous! Arturo was released from the hospital the same night! I broke my right leg! This article states that Tim plotted to kill the district attorney but they forget to mention that tim was set up by the DA office and that the idea came from another inmate that got released early right after he got Tim to agree to the plan. It also says that Aaron Vega's family was misled about the facts of the case which is also not true at all. There is NO justice served here just greedy District Attorneys that will lie and do anything to get a higher conviction rate!! Ms. Sheila Sanchez you should be ashamed of yourself for posting an article this bad that is just a bunch of lies
Nick November 25, 2012 at 07:59 PM
It says we were evading police officers which is also another false statement in this case!! You guys can all state false info about a crash that you were personally not involved in, but I was there and I was in the car and i remember everything that happened that night!! Remember, to anyone reading this, there is a reason the District Attorney never put me on the stand, because I know the TRUTH
Kay McNeill December 28, 2012 at 02:41 PM
So why didn't priolo's attorney put you on the stand ?


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