Man sentenced to 10 years in drunk-driving death of Santa Clarita bicyclist

SAN FERNANDO (KABC) -- A 28-year-old Canyon Country man was sentenced to 10 years in state prison after pleading no contest to a hit-and-run that took the life of a high school teacher in Santa Clarita.

Moments before a judge imposed the sentence on Lucas James Guidroz, he turned to the victim's family and, with a cracking voice, apologized for what he did.

"I never meant for this to happen," he said in the courtroom. "If I could take it back I would in a heartbeat."

Investigators say Roderick Bennett, 53, was riding his bicycle on Placerita Canyon Road on the afternoon of May 25 when he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Bennett was a math teacher and band director at Arroyo Seco Junior High School in Valencia.

Two days later, Guidroz turned himself in and was charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run.

The victim's family members spoke in court.

"The house is silent without him," said his widow, Valerie Pryor. "No more music, no more conversations, no more joy. I am in a fog without him."

In September, Pryor filed a lawsuit against Guidroz and his employer, LA Fitness. The suit alleges the defendant's supervisor knew or should have known about his heroin addiction and should not have allowed him to drive away from the job on his own while impaired. The company has not responded to a request for comment.
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