Matthew David Alfonso, a resident of Redding, was sentenced to 12 days in Shasta County jail on Friday. He was also placed on three years of probation after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving in connection with a fatal pedestrian accident outside a Redding bar in September.
According to police reports, Alfonso ran over 26-year-old Nicole Ritter, of Redding, after she apparently tried to “dive” into a passenger-side window of his sport utility vehicle as he was leaving Bert & Ernie’s bar on Industrial Street just after 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 14. It also said that Alfonso told police that Ritter, a mother of three young children, was “upset” and was trying to get into his SUV. Alfonso told police that he began to drive away in order to “avoid the drama,” the police report said. As he began to accelerate, he felt “two bumps” and stopped, the report said. Nicole Ritter fell under the SUV’s wheels, and died the next day at Mercy Medical Center in Redding.
Nicole Ritter’s ex-husband, Jeremy Ritter, was passenger in the SUV at the time of the accident, has said that the 24-year-old Alfonso drove off while his ex-wife was holding on to the car’s door and talking to her brother Joseph Edward Sorber, 32, of Bella Vista, who was in the front passenger seat.
Shasta County District Attorney Jerry Benito said Friday that more serious charges were not sought against Alfonso because the evidence indicates that Ritter’s own actions helped to cause her death.
Blood tests showed that he Alfonso a 0.21 percent blood-alcohol level, the police report said. Benito said that Nicole Ritter’s blood-alcohol test came back at 0.25 percent. He was ordered to complete a six-month alcohol counseling program, cannot possess or drink any alcohol during the term of his probation, and is prohibited from entering a business where alcohol is the primary item for sale.
Furthermore, he cannot own or drive a vehicle that does not have a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device for the next three years and must also attend therapy sessions.