Legal updates in student drunk-driver case


Police duty volunteers with the Chico Police Department maintaining a barrier on Ivy Street after the collusion. VIP Tim Truby on the left and VIP Paul Bailey on the right. Photo taken by Molly Myers, Oct. 22.

Cole Carpenter, a Chico State student was arrested after striking a female pedestrian on Ivy Street the night of Oct. 22, with a sedan while driving drunk. Carpenter was arrested on the scene and taken into custody. On Oct. 26, he pleaded no contest to two felonies. The felonies Carpenter was charged with included: DUI while impaired and with injury and DUI while over 0.08% BA with injury. 

According to Butte County’s District Attorney’s Office, field tests conducted at the scene of the crime led officers to believe Carpenter was under the influence of alcohol. This was confirmed when Carpenter took a breath test at the Chico Police Department an hour later, where he was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.13%, 0.05% higher than the legal limit. 

District Attorney Mike Ramsey provided details on the status of the victim. Enloe Medical Center took her blood test and found she had a alcohol blood content of 0.24% at the time she was struck by Carpenter’s vehicle.

She sustained severe injuries to her legs and head during the incident. As of Nov. 8, the victim has regained consciousness and is no longer in intensive care.

Ramsey said she has not yet been discharged from the hospital. 

“The hospital and her family are making arrangements for a long-term neuro-rehabilitation facility in the Santa Clara area when she is able to be medically discharged,” Ramsey wrote.

He also confirmed that Carpenter told police the “18-year-old female stepped out into the street in front of his car.”

According to Ramsey, after Carpenter pled no contest the judge released him from custody on the conditions that he was not to use nor possess alcohol, would be subject to searches and tests for the use or possession of alcohol, attend Alcoholic Anonymous meetings three times a week and could not drive unless licensed and insured.

Carpenter’s sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 4, where he faces up to three years in prison. 

The Orion reached out to Carpenter but has yet to receive a response.

Noah Herbst can be reached at [email protected] or @NoahHerbst13 on Twitter.