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Drunk driver gets prison in San Diego deputy's death

January 7, 2011 |  4:38 pm

Collier A drunk driver held responsible for a crash that killed a San Diego County sheriff's deputy was sentenced Friday to seven years and eight months in prison.

Jose Lopez Jasso, 23, was driving the wrong-way on California Highway 52 in Santee in the early hours of Feb. 28 when Deputy Ken Collier made a U-turn to give chase, prosecutors said.

As Collier came within 20 yards of Jasso's vehicle, his patrol SUV hit a freeway abutment, rolled down a hill and burst into flames. He died at a local hospital of his injuries.

Collier, 39, a graduate of San Diego State, joined the department in 2001 and became a patrol deputy in 2006.

In October, Jasso pleaded guilty in San Diego County Superior Court to gross vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving that caused great bodily injury and driving the wrong way.

"While today's sentencing does bring some measure of solace, it cannot bring back our deputy and friend, Ken Collier," said Sheriff Bill Gore. "Sheriff's Department employees will never forget his sense of humor and dedication to his job."

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Sheriff's Deputy Ken Collier. Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department