Hit-and-run driver gets five-year sentence
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By Dave Williams  October 26, 2012 12:00 am

A Rohnert Park man on Oct. 22 was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading no contest to three charges related to the death of an American Canyon youth.

Michael Scott Harmon, 41, was convicted of felony hit-and-run resulting in death, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving without proof of insurance.

The charges arose from a collision on Lakeville Highway, near Petaluma, on July 2, 2012. The victim, 17-year-old Jahzeel Forsen, was driving home in his truck to American Canyon after spending the day working at his grandparent’s restaurant in Sebastopol.

Harmon, 41, who had recently relocated from Vallejo to RP, was heading southbound on Lakeville Highway, three miles southeast of Petaluma, when he lost control of his 1969 Ford F-150 pickup truck. Harmon’s truck, according to the California Highway Patrol, careened back and forth on the road before crashing into the northbound pickup truck of the teen.

The passenger side of Harmon’s vehicle collided with the driver’s side of Forsen’s truck. A witness told CHP officers Harmon got out of his truck and walked over to Forsen’s truck. After seeing Forsen was dead (CHP officers said he died on impact), the witness said the driver disappeared into the night.

,District Attorney Ravitch stated: “This case is another tragic reminder to drivers to exercise caution on the roadways and to remain present at the scene of a traffic collision,” Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. “Our hearts go out to the victim’s mother and their family for the heartrending and preventable loss of this young man’s life.”

Harmon admitted at a few minutes before midnight, he was on his way to purchase methamphetamines when he swerved off the side of the road and over-corrected causing his vehicle to veer into the victim’s lane and hit the victim’s truck. He turned himself in after a friend gave him an ultimatum to do so or the friend would call the police. The defendant was on probation for a felony Health and Safety Code violation, possessing methamphetamine. He had been participating in the felony drug diversion program.

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