Man Sentenced to Jail for Deadly Street Racing Crash

POMONA, Calif. -- An El Monte man who took part in a street race that ended in a crash that killed a friend in Pico Rivera was sentenced Wednesday to one year in county jail.

Pomona Superior Court Judge Daniel Buckley also ordered Fitzgerald Paragas, who was 18 at the time of the crash and is now 19, to serve five years of formal probation and barred him from driving during that period, according to Deputy District Attorney Duke Chau.

Paragas also was ordered to participate in a safe driving program aimed at educating high school students, and to return to court Jan. 16 for a restitution hearing.

Paragas pleaded no contest May 1 to one count of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the Oct. 7, 2007, death of Brian Ramirez, along with four counts of reckless driving causing specified injury.

Paragas and Ramirez were racing south on Rosemead Boulevard at about 90 mph when Ramirez tried to pass a slower-moving vehicle by driving his Mitsubishi Evolution on the right shoulder, authorities said.

Ramirez lost control of his car, which crashed head-on into a Volkswagen Jetta that was northbound on Rosemead Boulevard, according to the California Highway Patrol. Four people in the Jetta suffered minor injuries.

A murder charge and a misdemeanor speed contest charge against Paragas were dismissed as a result of his plea.

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