Drunk Driver Gets 4 1/2 Years in Student's Death

Times Staff Writer

A 32-year-old convicted drunk driver was sentenced Friday to four years and eight months in prison for the hit-and-run death of a Japanese woman attending Cal State Northridge.

The man, Scott Mark Summers of Chatsworth, pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run last month in the death of Hiromi Masubuchi, 25. He was sentenced to the maximum prison term by Judge Alan B. Haber of Van Nuys Superior Court because he had prior drunk-driving convictions and was on parole for manslaughter at the time of the accident, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lisa Kahn said.

About 70 CSUN students packed the courtroom Friday in a show of sympathy for the dead woman. One tearfully read a short statement, through an interpreter, asking that the stiffest penalty be given to Summers because he had never made any effort to contact Masubuchi's family in Japan.

Summers was driving about 45 m.p.h. in a 35-m.p.h. zone when he hit Masubuchi about 5:15 p.m. on March 4 as she was running across Zelzah Avenue near the university. She was pronounced dead at Northridge Medical Center.

Kahn said that according to witnesses "no one, drunk or sober, could have avoided hitting her."

Robert Kurowsky, a retired Los Angeles police lieutenant, saw the accident, chased Summers from Northridge to Pacoima and held him for the police, Kahn said.

"But for Kurowsky's efforts, we would not have had any case," Kahn said. She said no one at the scene had taken down Summers' license number.

Summers had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14%, Kahn said. A person by law is presumed to be intoxicated with a reading of 0.10% or more.

Summers' attorney, Felix Leatherwood, said his client is remorseful for his actions.

The probation report states that Summers "is sorry the victim came running into his car. . . . He feels bad because the woman did not do anything to him. He feels real bad about it."

Summers, a sometime truck driver and construction laborer, was convicted of manslaughter in 1984, receiving a six-year sentence in prison for killing a man who shot his dog on a snake-hunting trip near Canyon Country.

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