The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:
Defendant Harvey Lee Rogers, age 71, of Ukiah, was sentenced last week in the Mendocino County Superior Court to 88 months in state prison.
The defendant stands convicted by an 11th hour change of plea of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of a methamphetamine causing injury to another person, a felony; inflicting great bodily injury on that victim causing him to become comatose due to brain injury; and also causing great bodily injury to the motorcycle passenger.
The defendant’s jury trial was originally scheduled to get underway on May 22nd, but the defendant decided four days prior to forego that trial and admit criminal culpability.
The driver of the motorcycle and his passenger were both badly injured when the defendant unexpectedly turned his vehicle into the path of the oncoming motorcycle on July 22, 2021.
As noted in the probation investigation, the motorcycle driver “died twice” after the collision due to cardiac arrest and respiratory failure; he was in a coma for three days; and in the hospital for a month.
This victim suffered multiple torn ligaments, a broken neck, a broken femur and torn femoral artery. His heel bone was shattered and had to be removed and he is now in constant pain. He also suffered a brain aneurism and now struggles with memory issues. Finally, he has a titanium rod in his leg (from his hip to his knee) held in place by twenty-three screws.
Likewise, the passenger on the motorcycle was also badly injured. She recalled for the court seeing bone sticking out of her leg and advised her femur was shattered. She was on life support for nearly two days and had swelling in her brain despite wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. She remained in the hospital for a month following the crash.
In the past two years, this victim has had at least four surgical procedures — the last one being this past February – with more surgical procedures anticipated. The victim’s ankle and knee are constantly swollen; she cannot play sports, run, bend her knee, dance, or wear heels. She uses a cane in the morning to walk around, as it takes a while for her left leg to get warmed up and moving. She still has a metal plate in her femur, which will need to be removed down the road. A bone graft was taken from her hip and now one leg is crooked because her hip has turned outwards.
As a result of these injuries and the defendant having admitted being responsible for inflicting same, current California law characterizes the defendant’s crime as violent within the meaning of Penal Code section 667.5(c).
The credits a violent criminal may attempt to earn towards early state prison release on state parole supervision is capped by statute at no more than 15 percent of the overall sentence, meaning defendant Rogers’ best case scenario should be incarceration in a state prison facility for a little over six years.
The law enforcement agencies that investigated the crash and gathered the evidence supporting the defendant’s guilt were the Ukiah Police Department and the California Highway Patrol.
A special note of thanks is extended to the medical first responders and Ascertain Forensics at Redwood Toxicology Laboratory in Santa Rosa for the laboratory work and analysis of the defendant’s blood sample.
Had a trial been necessary, Ascertain Forensics was ready to provide expert testimony on the presence and level of methamphetamine detected in the defendant’s post-crash blood sample; as well as explanatory testimony as to how a methamphetamine-impaired driver tends to be more aggressive and reckless creating dangerous unseen conditions for others traveling on the local roads.
District Attorney David Eyster handled the case and is the prosecutor who would have presented the People’s evidence to a jury had the defendant insisted on going forward with his trial.