[messengers] Driver Accused Of Killing Zachary Parke Near UCSC Pleads Guilty

Date: 10 Feb 2012 13:39:21 +0100
From: Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx>

Driver Accused Of Killing Zachary Parke Near UCSC Pleads
KSBW.com, February 9, 2012
A Live Oak man accused of killing bicyclist Zachary Parke in
a hit-and-run crash near the University of California at Santa Cruz pleaded guilty on Thursday.
Elliot Sterling Dess, 21, reversed his not guilty plea as
part of a deal with prosecutors.
Inside a Santa Cruz courtroom Thursday morning, Dess looked at Parke's mother and quietly said,
"I'm guilty. I'm very sorry."
Parke, 25, of Santa Cruz, was killed while riding his bicycle just after
midnight on June, 8 2011. Parke was leaving UCSC's campus after hanging out
with friends who were students there.
He was struck on Empire Grade Road while peddling in an
8-foot wide bike lane. Parke was experienced at navigating Santa Cruz's road on two wheels because he
worked as a bicycle messenger for Clutch Couriers.
Dess immediately fled the scene by driving away in his
parent's burgundy Nissan Maxima, the California Highway Patrol said.
Parke's mangled bicycle and body were found later that
morning in high brush along Empire Grade Road, the main route leading in and
out of UCSC.
Dess will receive a two year prison sentence. The judge said
he plans to give Dess a relatively short sentence for felony hit-and-run and
misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter because he is young, admitted guilt, and had
no prior criminal record.
Dess could be released from prison in one year for good
behavior, the judge said.
Parke's mother, April Parke, expressed relief in court after
Dess pleaded guilty.
"Dess is finally taking responsibility for the
unfathomable and inhumane act of killing Zachary and leaving him on the side of
the road to die," April Parke said. "I don't think any (prison
sentence) is just unless it can bring Zachary back."
Dess' older brother, Benjamin Dess, 24, of Santa Cruz, is also living in the Santa Cruz jail. He has been behind bars since July 2011 and
is charged with selling drugs and beating up another inmate in jail.

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