A Riverside County man who crashed an SUV into a security station last year at Long Beach’s Century Villages at Cabrillo housing community, killing a guard, was sentenced today to two years in state prison after apologizing to the victim’s family.
Quentin Darnell Black of Moreno Valley, 32, pleaded no contest last month to a felony count of vehicular manslaughter for the June 12, 2021, collision that killed 54-year-old Derrick Smith of Los Angeles.
A second count against Black—hit-and-run driving—was dismissed as a result of the plea.
In an emotional statement in court in which he addressed the victim’s family, Black said, the crash “wasn’t on purpose … I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I did not mean to do that to Mr. Smith.”
The victim’s mother, Jenell Nelson, said she was “very disappointed with what’s going on here with Mr. Black.”
She said she felt the two-year prison sentence was “just a slap on the wrist.”
“Two years—I’m insulted. My family’s insulted,” she said.
Superior Court Judge Chet Taylor noted that the sentence stemmed from an agreed-upon disposition between the prosecution and the defense.
The judge refused a request by Black’s attorney to delay the sentencing to allow Black and his partner more time to find child care for their two young children, saying that he had already allowed him to remain free for 30 days following his plea.
The crash occurred at the Century Villages at Cabrillo complex in the 2000 block of San Gabriel Avenue, near Pacific Coast Highway and the Terminal Island Freeway.
Police said last year that a preliminary investigation revealed that a 2012 Chevy Tahoe was driving at a high rate of speed when it appeared to lose control and strike the security guard shack. Police officers found the guard injured inside the shack and provided medical aid until paramedics arrived, Long Beach Police Department Lt. Scott Jenson said shortly after the collision.
Medical personnel continued to administer aid, but Smith died of his injuries at the scene. The driver abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene on foot, Jenson said.
Black was arrested by Long Beach police two days after the crash and was subsequently released on bond, according to jail records.
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