A Copperopolis man initially arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after a road-rage-related crash near Sonora last June was convicted recently on a lesser charge of reckless driving causing injury.
Scott Sanchez's conviction carried a maximum of three years local prison, said Tuolumne County Assistant District Attorney Eric M. Hovatter. "He was given five years felony probation, credit for any time in custody, plus 90 days electronic home monitoring. "
The June 1 incident at Highway 108 and South Washington Street began when another driver angered Sanchez by tailgating, investigators determined.
"Once Sanchez pulled to the side and he (the other driver) passed, there may have been some slamming of brakes," Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sgt. Andrea Benson said at the time. The other driver pulled over, got out of his car and threw his arms in the air, she said.
Sanchez also had pulled over ahead of him, Benson said, and intentionally backed his car into the man and the driver's side of his car. The man suffered major injuries and was airlifted to a Modesto hospital. A 2-year-old boy in the back seat of the other driver's car was not injured.
Sanchez recently told The Bee that the other driver "pinned me into a corner and got out of his car." Sanchez said his response was to evade further confrontation by "making a three-point turn (to leave), and I accidentally hit him."
The prosecution argued for a year in jail for Sanchez, Hovatter said, "but the court reasoned that Sanchez had expressed remorse, the other driver’s actions were provocative and that Sanchez had already lost his livelihood."
Sanchez said news coverage of the crash made him appear "a monster."
"I'm just a normal guy, a teacher for 20 years," he said. "... I thought my life was in jeopardy."