Driver involved in deadly crash sentenced

Photo by Tony Kukulich

Family and friends of Castulo Loredo Jr. gather outside the Contra Costa County courthouse following the sentencing of Bryce Sheridan. Sheridan pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter charges in the November 2017 accident that claimed the life of Loredo, a Brentwood resident.

During an emotional court proceeding that left many in the courtroom dabbing tears from their eyes — including Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Patricia Scanlon — Bryce Sheridan pleaded no contest to a felony vehicular manslaughter charge for a November 2017 accident that claimed the life of 55-year-old Brentwood resident Castulo Loredo Jr.

“I don’t like the outcome,” said Cynthia Loredo, Castulo’s widow. “I don’t feel the justice. But I was ready for the closure, because two years to have a case linger on is just draining. I’m just grateful that I have a very good support system that is here with me every month to get me through these court proceedings, even if it’s just a continuance. Today was long (and) very emotional with both sides of the family. With my family speaking on how much we miss him, and (Sheridan) and his wife speaking on what they have caused. I’m grateful that there’s finally this much closure.”

Scanlon sentenced Sheridan to 180 days in county jail and three years of felony probation, a sentence Cynthia considered light. Scott Alonso, public information officer for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, said Sheridan could serve his time via electronic detention at home if a request is made and approved by the Office of the Sheriff.

“I was hoping for at least some jail time, minimum maybe three months,” said Cynthia. “He actually took a life, so I was hoping that he’d get at least three months in jail, instead of an ankle monitor for six months. The judge said he’ll only do half time, and I think the jail system has more time taken off, so he’ll only do maybe six weeks on an ankle monitor at home, where he can go to work, enjoy his kids and go home every day.”

Seven of Castulo’s family members and friends addressed the court during the hearing, describing the impact Castulo had on their lives, and the sense of loss created by his absence. While Michael Loredo lamented the loss of his father, he also offered forgiveness to Sheridan.

“If you are truly sorry, I do forgive you,” he said, addressing Sheridan.

Sheridan and his wife also addressed the court, apologizing for the pain the accident caused the Loredo family, and describing the impact it’s had on their own family.

“We’re incredibly and deeply sorry for what happened,” said Sheridan’s wife.

Castulo — known to friends and family as “Junior” — was headed toward his job as a machinist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Vasco Road the afternoon of Nov. 6, 2017. Slowing his silver Audi A4 to a stop in heavy, southbound traffic, he was struck from behind by Sheridan in a Nissan Versa. The impact of the collision pushed Junior’s car into the path of a northbound Toyota Corolla that struck him broadside. Both drivers involved in the second collision were flown to the trauma center at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. At the time, an East Contra Costa Fire Protection District spokesperson described Junior as having suffered massive trauma.

While addressing the court, Cynthia recounted getting a call from the hospital telling her that Junior had been admitted after an accident, and then rushing there to find him in the intensive care unit, so badly injured that he was unrecognizable. She said she made the hardest decision of her life, just after midnight, and took Junior off life support. He died within minutes.

In September 2018, Sheridan was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter. He initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to no contest during the Oct. 4 hearing and sentencing.

Sheridan denied that he was on the phone at the time of the accident, but admitted he was distracted by the car behind him. Cynthia now plans to spend time trying to help other victims of distracted driving.

“Right now I can start working on a foundation for distracted and negligent driving, and help the victims,” said Cynthia. “We have a $500,000 hospital bill and a $47,000 helicopter bill. These bills just add up, add up and add up. I’m stuck with all the burden. I want to be able to help other people with anything. I don’t care how little it is, because everything is appreciated. Even a meal brought to your home when you’re dealing with this is appreciated.”