Goleta man pleads guilty in deadly Santa Barbara hit-and run

Posted at 8:48 AM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 13:54:44-04

A Goleta man who police say was driving drunk when he hit and killed a 91-year-old mudslide evacuee in Santa Barbara will be sentenced later this year after changing his plea to some of the charges.

Nicholas B. Hart, 27, pleaded guilty last month to charges that include driving with a suspended or revoked license for DUI and felony hit-and-run resulting in injury or death in connection with the Jan. 23, 2018 death of Ted Johnson, according to court records.

Hart was speeding and driving with a suspended license when he hit Johnson, who was crossing the intersection of State and Micheltorena streets in a marked crosswalk, according to police, who say Hart had an open bottle of alcohol and marijuana with him at the time.

The plea agreement signed by Hart states he had a 1.75-liter bottle of vodka in the car’s center console following the collision. The bottle was approximately half full because Hart had consumed the other half prior to driving that evening, the documents show. His BAC was said to be at least .24, three times the legal driving limit.

Hart admitted that after knowing he had hit someone, he failed to stop at the scene.

This was Hart’s third DUI arrest in just under three years, according to police, who say his license was suspended due to two prior DUI convictions in Santa Barbara County.

Hart is expected to be sentenced to 13 years and six months on Aug. 5. He has waived all credits prior to February 2019 and his rights to appeal in order to avoid a possible life sentence.

Hart is currently being held in Santa Barbara County Jail without bail.

Nicholas Hart
Nicholas Hart