A man who was under the influence of pot when his car veered off a La Jolla road and into a cafe [Cass Street Bakery Cafe in Bird Rock], seriously injuring three teens and a man eating dinner last summer, was sentenced today to nearly 17 years in state prison.
Ronald Troyer, 66, was convicted last month of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, hit-and-run and a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license.
A jury also found that the defendant inflicted great bodily injury on the victims.
A fifth person, Sharon Macelli, received lesser injuries when Troyer’s car crashed into the Cass Street Cafe & Bakery, Deputy District Attorney David Uyar said.
One one hand, Superior Court Judge William Kronberger Jr. said, the case represented a lifetime of bad decisions made by Troyer, whose criminal record of DUI, theft and reckless driving convictions dates back to 1963.
One the other, the judge said, it represents the taking of exuberance and joy from the lives of the teens injured in the accident.
“It really goes way beyond their physical injuries,” Kronberger said.
“Our greatest resources are our youth. This is the time that should be joy … but it’s not.”
Myles Polger, now 15, suffered several broken bones in the crash. Alani Aguerre, then 14, suffered a broken pelvis and teenager Ian Brininstool also had broken bones. Jeffrey Macelli, Sharon’s husband, also received serious injuries when Troyer’s car slammed into their table in the bakery. “These are horrendous injuries,” Kronberger said as he handed down the 16-year, eight-month sentence.
Deputy Public Defender David Thompson told the judge that Troyer was remorseful the moment he realized what happened.
Troyer would always ask, “How is the little girl? Is she going to be OK?” Thompson told the judge. “Certainly he should not have been driving that
But Uyar said Troyer was not remorseful, just sad. The prosecutor said the injuries suffered by the victims are just the “tip of the iceberg” on their road to recovery.
“It’s because of him (Troyer) that they suffered the way they did,” Uyar told the judge.
The victims were injured about 6:30 p.m. last Aug. 15 when Troyer’s car veered onto the sidewalk, then crashed into the bakery.
In his closing argument at trial, the prosecutor said that Troyer smoked pot before his car plowed into the teenagers and bakery.
Uyar said Troyer tried to shift the blame away from himself after the crash, saying things like, “Oh this is bad,” “Someone stole my car,” “I wasn’t driving” and “I must have blacked out,” along with blaming the crash on mechanical failure.
The prosecutor said Troyer’s blood was drawn three hours after the crash, and marijuana was found in his system.
Before he was sentenced Wednesday, Troyer made a brief statement to the court. “My major concern is for those who were hurt … that they heal,” the defendant said.
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