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Man Gets 6 Years in Tractor Death of Boy

A Lancaster man who had been drinking just prior to a tractor accident that crushed and killed his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son was sentenced Tuesday to six years in state prison for vehicular manslaughter.

Lancaster Superior Court Judge Charles Horan imposed the sentence on Kenneth L. Hulse, 28, who was driving the tractor June 20, 1990, when Shawn Sconce fell off and was run over. Hulse originally was charged with murder, but he pleaded no contest last month to the lesser offense.

Hulse’s driving record includes several prior drunk-driving convictions. He admitted he had been drinking before taking the boy and his 5-year-old brother for a nighttime ride in the unlit Lancaster construction area where he worked. Shawn fell when Hulse drove the tractor down a two-foot embankment.

Horan also sentenced the boy’s mother--Valerie J. Carpenter, 30, of Linden in San Joaquin County--to probation on a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment. Carpenter, who was in Lancaster visiting Hulse and witnessed the accident, also had entered a no contest plea.

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