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Kern deputy pleads in crash that killed 2

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POSTED August 14, 2014 8:35 p.m.

BAKERSFIELD (AP) — A Kern County sheriff’s deputy whose speeding patrol car killed two people has pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter.

The Bakersfield Californian says John Swearengin entered the misdemeanor plea on Thursday and was sentenced to 480 hours of community service. He’d faced up to seven years in prison under the original felony charges.

An administrative review will determine whether Swearengin keeps his job.

Authorities say Swearengin was doing more than 80 mph in a 45-mph zone when he hit two people pushing a motorcycle across a road in Oildale in 2011.

The deputy was responding to a report of a stolen vehicle and looked down to grab his radio. The car’s lights and siren weren’t on.

The victim’s families sued the county and settled in March for $8.8 million.

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