Local News

Jan 7, 2010 12:47 AM by Kristen Oato

Driver charged in New Year's Day fatal accident

The man who is accused of causing a car accident that killed 21-year-old Damian Coles on New Year's Day has been formally charged in a Santa Maria courtroom.

On Tuesday, 21-year-old Cody Stutts was charged with felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, gross vehicular manslaughter, and driving under the influence causing great bodily injury. Special allegations were also filed to include the injuries caused to a second victim, Nathan Beebe, who is still in the hospital, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

Coles and Beebe were in the car Stutts was driving at the time of the accident. The California Highway Patrol says Stutts had allegedly been driving over 100 mph in Orcutt when his car travelled off the road and hit a fence. A preliminary investigation indicates none of the men had been wearing seatbelts.

Stutts is due back in court on Friday, January 8 for arraignment.

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