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Former airman pleads guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter in 2016 crash that killed Lompoc couple

Former airman pleads guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter in 2016 crash that killed Lompoc couple

Shaquille Lindsey file

Former United States airman Shaquille Lindsey listens during a May 3 preliminary hearing in Lompoc Superior Court. Lindsey faces vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges for an August 2016 crash that killed a Lompoc couple.

A former airman pleaded guilty Wednesday to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in a head-on collision that killed a Lompoc couple and seriously injured their son near Vandenberg Air Force Base in 2016.

Shaquille Ahmed Lindsey, 26, appeared before Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Kelly in Santa Maria to enter guilty pleas on two counts.

Lindsey, who is from Georgia, was charged in the deaths of Lompoc residents Ruben and Bertha Betancourt, who were killed Aug. 28, 2016, after he veered his rented Dodge Challenger into the path of the Betancourts' 2005 Ford Focus.

Their son, Juan Betancourt, was also in the car and suffered major injuries in the crash, which occurred along Santa Lucia Canyon Road near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Lindsey was reportedly speeding, although it’s difficult to determine how fast he was going, said Tom Allen, Lindsey’s attorney.

Allen said his client had been recently discharged from the Air Force and was visiting friends at the time of the crash.

Lindsey was originally charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs — marijuana — causing injury in 2016.

He also faced three sentencing enhancements of causing great bodily injury.

The new complaint dropped the alcohol- and drug-related charges as part of a plea deal, according to Allen.

Lindsey is scheduled to appear at 8:30 a.m. March 13 in Department 8 of Superior Court in Santa Maria to face sentencing.

He faces 180 days in County Jail, with credit for one day served, and three years of probation, Allen said.

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