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Ventura fatal hit-and-run driver pleads not guilty

May 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A 49-year-old Ventura man accused in a deadly hit-and-run was in court Friday.

He is accused of being involved in three separate hit-and-runs Tuesday night, resulting in the death of a bicyclist in the third incident.

The only thing Satnam Singh uttered in court was saying the word 'yes' three times when asked if he agreed to plead not guilty to the charges he faces and to future court dates.

The liquor store owner is facing gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.

According to Ventura police, while driving his Hummer, Singh allegedly hit a mother and her teenage daughter while they were riding their bikes.

Shortly after that Singh is accused of rear ending a pickup truck. The family of three inside the vehicle complained of some pain.

And finally he's accused of crashing into 20-year-old Ventura College student Nick Haverland while he was riding his bike. Haverland was killed in the crash.

His bail is set at $500,000. The prosecution argues that Singh is a flight risk, however Singh's attorney says that's not the case.

"He's got a family, he owns a business," said Singh's attorney Marc Biederman. "He has no prior criminal record. To my knowledge he doesn't even have a traffic ticket."

After hitting Haverland, police said Singh drove home where he was arrested by Ventura police.

"The totall maximum time potentially if he's convicted is approximately 18 years," said Deputy District Attorney Scott Hendrickson.

Haverland's family said that he was planning to attend the University of Hawaii this coming fall.

The family released a statement: "Nick was a loving, generous young man with a joyful smile and a giving spirit. He was always quick with counsel and a good word to friends in need. Nick will be deeply missed by his loving family and a legion of faithful friends. Embrace nature and each other in Nick's honor."

Singh is due back in court June 14. He could plead guilty to all charges and avoid a trial. If he remains with the not guilty plea, he will be back in court June 27 for a preliminary hearing.

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