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UPDATE: Two charged in January fatal crash

Adds that D.A. filed murder charges, that street racing was involved

Posted: August 8, 2012 2:07 p.m.
Updated: August 8, 2012 2:07 p.m.


Two men identified as street racers were charged Wednesday with murder in connection with a fatal crash seven months ago that claimed the life of their friend, a 19-year-old Canyon Country man, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

Colt Sean Doherty, 19, and Thomas Joseph Vensko, 20, both of Canyon Country, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of vehicular homicide in the death of Dakota Demott, 19, also of Canyon Country,

Traffic investigators with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station made the arrests, Deputy Mike Shapiro said Wednesday.

But the District Attorney’s office filed second-degree murder charges in the case, spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

Bail for both accused men is set at $1 million.

If convicted, each faces a state prison sentence of lie with the possibility of parole.

Doherty is also charged with one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing injury.

“It was alleged he personally (who) inflicted great bodily injury on the victim,” according a District Attorney’s Office news release.

Vensko is also charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Demott died when the Ford Mustang in which he was riding slammed into a tree on Sand Canyon Road at Alamo Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

“He was thrown out of the car and killed on Jan. 10, 2012, when the vehicle crashed while street racing a Honda driven by Vensko in Santa Clarita,” according to prosecutors.

The crash happened after the two cars left a fast food restaurant at Sand Canyon Road shortly before 11 p.m. that night, they said.

Vensko had two passengers in his car at the time of the crash, Gibbons said.

Investigators interviewed at the time said speed was a factor.

Doherty was identified as the driver of the car by deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and identified by friends as Demott’s “best friend.”

Both were graduates of Canyon High School.

Asked why it took so long to make the arrests, Shapiro said the case was complex.

“It’s like writing a book,” he said about the investigative work done on the crash. “It’s a big investigation, so there are a lot of interviews, looking things up, co-ordinating with the district attorney. It’s time-consuming.”

Immediately following the crash in January, Doherty was listed in critical condition at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

For four days, Doherty remained in a medically induced coma at the hospital. Although he suffers persistent injuries, Doherty recovered and was released from the hospital.





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