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Booking Photo: Chelsea A. Stiles, dob: 09-09-1993.
Booking Photo: Chelsea A. Stiles, dob: 09-09-1993.

Jury Convicts Chelsea A. Stiles after Two-Month Vehicular Homicide Trial

Author: District Attorney
Date: 12/11/2020 7:59:33 PM

District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that a San Luis Obispo County Jury returned verdicts after a nearly two-month long trial related to the death of Terry Tilton (72) of San Luis Obispo on December 1, 2019.


The San Luis Obispo County jury, after deliberating for several days, convicted Chelsea Annmarie Stiles (27) of numerous charges, but were not able to reach a unanimous verdict on the most serious charge of murder. On the charge of murder, the jury’s decision was split 11-1 in favor of guilt.

The jury convicted Ms. Stiles of the following felonies: gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated; driving under the influence of a drug causing death; four counts of assault with a deadly weapon using an automobile; leaving the scene of a vehicle collision causing injury; child abuse; and misdemeanor possession of cocaine.   

The deadly crash sequence occurred at 6 p.m. on December 1, 2019 on Highway 227 when Stiles, while under the influence of cocaine, intentionally rear-ended an automobile containing a family of four at 74 miles per hour, disabling the vehicle.  About 19 seconds later, Stiles inexplicably drove into the opposing lane of travel striking Mr. Tilton’s vehicle head-on at 68 miles per hour, killing him instantly. The defendant’s 18-month old daughter and two dogs were also in her vehicle at the time of the collisions.

“Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is deadly serious as this case tragically illustrates,” said Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth. “Ms. Stile’s decision to drive in her condition endangered not only her infant daughter within her vehicle, but every other driver on the roadway that evening. Our community is thankful for the jury’s tireless effort and attention in this nearly two-month-long trial, particularly in light of the COVID-19 safety precautions.”

Stiles faces a maximum sentence of over 14 years in state prison. She will return to Department 1 of the Superior Court for sentencing on February 3, 2021, Judge Jacqueline Duffy presiding.

A copy of the charging document can be found here and a copy of the defendant’s booking photo can be found here.

The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol with the assistance of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth and Deputy District Attorney Ben Blumenthal.

Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at 805.781.5819 with any questions.

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