A driver who allegedly made an unsafe left turn causing a crash that killed Cal Poly computer science freshman Jordan Grant has been criminally charged.
Driver Richard Giuli was charged with a single count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. If convicted, Giuli faces a fine of $1,000 and a maximum of six months in County jail.
Giuli, 43, pled not guilty at his arraignment Thursday, April 25 at the San Luis Obispo Superior Court. He was unharmed in the crash, according to California Highway Patrol.
Jordan Grant was traveling south on Highway 101 on Oct. 7, 2018 to watch a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base when Giuli, crossing at El Campo Road, hit his motorcycle.
Giuli’s attorney Jim Murphy was not available for comment.
Jordan’s father James Grant wrote in an email to Mustang News that he expected Giuli to plead not guilty.
“We attended the hearing, as we felt Jordan would expect that of us — to stand witness for him, to each step of the process of answering for his wrongful death,” James Grant wrote. “The loss is so enormous — to us, to Cal Poly and to [San Luis Obispo]. We would have been there if it had only lasted one second.”
James Grant wrote that the fatal crash was less about Giuli and more about the dangerous crossings on Highway 101 near El Campo Road.
“Was Rich negligent?” James Grant wrote. “Well, yes. But we must remember and moderate our judgment, as this act occurred in the context of an unsafe crossing that should never have been allowed.”
Grant’s family and friends have been advocating for the removal of the left turns on Highway 101 near El Campo since the crash. On Tuesday, April 23, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors announced they would send a letter to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in support of eliminating left-hand turns across Highway 101 between Traffic Way and Los Berros Road.
Grant added that Giuli and his son both studied similar topics at Cal Poly at separate times. Giuli was a chief architect of Siri, which was purchased by Apple, according to a Cal Poly Engineering report. He is a donor to the computer science department.
“The tragedy, the horrible tragedy in this, is that Rich, in killing Jordan, destroyed a younger version of himself,” Grant wrote. “Rich is a computer science Cal Poly graduate specializing in artificial intelligence and working at Apple. As Jordan and I drove from Texas to Cal Poly four weeks before the accident, we discussed Jordan specializing in artificial intelligence and working at Apple someday. If he had run over his own child, the tragedy could not have been any worse.”