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Laguna Doctor Pleads Not Guilty in Fatal High-Speed Crash

Robert McFarland Pettis, 48, faces a maximum of nine years and eight months in prison for a high-speed crash in Laguna Beach that killed Alberto Casique, 47, and Armando Gonzalez, 38.

The April 2 fatal crash scene in Laguna Beach (Patch file photo)
The April 2 fatal crash scene in Laguna Beach (Patch file photo)
A Laguna Beach doctor pleaded not guilty Monday to charges stemming from a high-speed, head on crash that killed two men, court records show.

Robert McFarland Pettis, 48, entered not guilty pleas to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one felony count of driving the wrong way on a divided highway causing death.

According to court records, prosecutors filed sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily harm against Pettis. If convicted he faces a maximum sentence of nine years and eight months in state prison.

The charges against Pettis are in connection with a crash that occurred around 6:40 a.m. on April 2. Authorities allege Pettis was driving his Tesla Model S at an excessive speed northbound on State Route 133/Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. According to prosecutors, Pettis is accused of crossing over the double lines into the southbound lanes into oncoming traffic and crashing head-on into a Honda Accord, killing its driver 47- year-old driver Alberto Casique, his 38-year-old passenger Armando Gonzalez.

Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene due to vehicular blunt force trauma, authorities reported.

Pettis remains out of jail on $100,000 bond.

He is scheduled to return to court on March 13 for a pre-trial hearing.

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tanya February 19, 2014 at 12:57 PM
why is it that the drivers responsible are rarely killed or even injured that badly, but the victims get the worst of it?? I have seen so many - way too many - aggressive, rude drivers in south OC these days. It's so bad that no matter what time of day, or if you are walking on the sidewalk, you aren't safe! What are the cops doing about it?

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