District Attorney Press Release

Distracted Driver Pleads No Contest to Vehicular Manslaughter

Author: District Attorney's Office
Date: 8/30/2018 4:59:17 PM

Lisa Smith (55) has been sentenced to three years of formal supervised probation and ordered to complete 200 hours of community work service for vehicular manslaughter. Smith was talking on a cellular phone while driving on State Route 227 when she struck and killed a bicyclist in July of 2016.

On August 29, 2018, Lisa G. Smith (DOB 11/29/1962) was sentenced to three years of formal supervised probation and 200 hours of community work service for violating Penal Code section 192(c)(2), vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, a misdemeanor.  As part of her community work service hours, Smith is required to participate in speaking engagements addressing the repercussions of distracted driving.

On July 14, 2016, Smith was driving northbound on State Route 227, just South of Briddle Ranch, when she collided with the victim, Ms. Bridget Dawson, who was riding her bicycle on the right shoulder.  At the time of the accident, Smith was distracted while talking on her phone.  Smith’s vehicle drifted onto the right shoulder striking Ms. Dawson’s bicycle.  Ms. Dawson was thrown from her bicycle causing the fatal injuries.

“No call is worth a life.  Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ms. Dawson.”  Said District Attorney Dan Dow.  “This is a tragic reminder of the potentially horrific unintended consequences of driving while distracted.  Please, don’t do it.” 

Smith was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Dodie Harman in Department 5 of the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.

The case was investigated by the San Luis Obispo Division of the California Highway Patrol and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagner.


Please direct all media inquiries towards ADA Eric Dobroth at 805.781.5800.