A California Superior Court judge on June 10 dropped an injury enhancement connected with a bodily injury charge against a former Hudson man accused of hitting with his car and killing a college nursing student in 2013.
The dropped charge could potentially save Riley Dean Hoover, a 2012 Hudson High School graduate now living in Chico, California, two years in prison, if he is convicted on other charges stemming from the Sept. 22, 2013, death of 21-year-old bicyclist Kristina Chesterman.
California Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Benson approved a motion from Hoover's attorney, Clyde M. Blackmon, to drop a "causing a coma" enhancement, attached to a causing bodily harm charge, against Hoover.
"Essentially our argument was that she [Miss Chesterman] was never in a coma and died at the scene of the accident," Blackmon said. "She was not declared brain dead until some 38 hours after she was admitted to the hospital. But during that time she was in the hospital, she never took a spontaneous breath. Any breathing she did take was on life support through a respirator."
Blackmon also made a motion that evidence seized by police be dismissed, alleging it was "illegally obtained." The judge denied that motion.
Police allege Hoover was traveling about 45 mph Sept. 22, 2013, around 11 p.m. when his 2009 GMC Envoy struck Miss Chesterman, according to Chico Police Lt. George Laver. Miss Chesterman, a Chico State University nursing student, lived less than a mile from campus and was returning home after studying at the campus library. She was about two blocks from her apartment when struck, Laver said.
Miss Chesterman died of her injuries two days later. Police found parts of a vehicle near the impact scene they later identified as belonging to Hoover's vehicle, Laver said. Hoover was arrested at his apartment, a short distance away, Laver said.
Hoover still faces two counts of felony money laundering; DUI/alcohol gross bodily injury; driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent/causing injury; leaving the scene of an accident; the sale and transportation of marijuana, and the manufacture of a controlled substance other than PCP.
Police also allege Hoover is part of a drug ring, Laver said. Police allegedly found almost 3 pounds of "bubble hash," a potent form of hashish,
In January, Hoover was charged with the two counts of felony money laundering, according to court records.
Judge Benson granted the prosecution's motion that the charges for Hoover's trial be consolidated.
"We were pleased with that outcome and that the defense's motion to suppress evidence was denied," Butte County Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Bennett said. "We are obviously disappointed about the ruling on the coma [enhancement.]"
An Aug. 25 trial date has been set. Hoover remains in jail on a $500,000 bond.