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Former VAFB airman sentenced in vehicular manslaughter case

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Posted at 2:41 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 21:59:22-04

A former Vandenberg Air Force Base airman was sentenced Friday to 180 days in jail after pleading guilty in January to two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Shaquille Ahmed Lindsey of Covington, Georgia was also sentenced to three years probation and will be subjected to various fines.

On Aug. 28, 2016, Lindsey was driving on Santa Lucia Canyon Rd. near Vandenberg Air Force Base when he struck another vehicle head-on.

The crash killed Ruben and Bertha Betancourt of Lompoc and seriously injured their son, Juan.

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Ruben and Bertha Betancourt

Investigators said Lindsey was under the influence, using his cell phone, and speeding at the time of the crash.

In court Friday, Lindsey admitted to driving over the speed limit but said he only took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at the scenery. He said he prays for the victims every day and is sorry for the pain he caused.

"We're not getting the justice that we want but if we could fight for this to not happen to another family, I think this is what we're gonna do," said Luis Servin, victims' son-in-law. "We have our hearts broken. It's a pain that's never gonna go away but as a family we have each other, we will continue to fight in their memory."

Lindsey initially faced federal charges but that case was dismissed due to a jurisdictional issue when it was determined that the crash happened off-base. He was charged again in 2018 and initially pleaded not guilty.

The judge denied a defense request Friday to allow Lindsey to serve his time in a jail in the state of Georgia.