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Former Vandenberg AFB airman pleads guilty to deadly 2016 crash charges

Posted at 11:21 AM, Jan 10, 2020

A former Vandenberg Air Force Base airman pleaded guilty this week to charges stemming from a deadly crash in 2016.

Shaquille Lindsey of Covington, Georgia, entered the plea Wednesday in a Santa Maria courtroom to two felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter.

As part of a plea agreement, he will be placed on formal probation for three years and serve 180 days in Santa Barbara County Jail when sentenced March 13, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

The crash happened Aug. 28, 2016 on Santa Lucia Canyon Road just outside Vandenberg Air Force Base property.

Investigators said Lindsey, who was 23 at the time, was driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, using his cell phone while driving, and speeding when he drove into oncoming traffic, crashing head-on into another vehicle.

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

The local charges against Lindsey in August of 2018 came after the U.S. Department of Justice announced a federal case against him was dismissed due to a jurisdictional issue when it was determined that the crash happened off-base.

He first pleaded not guilty in September 2018 but changed that plea this week.