A man who pleaded guilty to killing a Ph.D. student in a drunken hit-and-run crash will serve 11 years in prison, a judge announced Friday.
Christopher “Chip” Stockmeyer, 41, admitted in April to fatally striking aspiring marine biologist Rachel Morrison, 27, on Mar. 28 in Del Mar as he was driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding.
Morrison had been crossing the street with her friend, and the impact with Stockmeyer’s car sent her flying about 120 feet into nearby bushes. She died after she was taken to Scripps La Jolla Hospital.
Although Stockmeyer had driven off, sheriff’s and police investigators found his license plate at the scene and tracked him to his home.
They found his Audi A4 with a broken windshield and major front-end damage from the crash.
When they tracked down Stockmeyer at his apartment complex, officers said he smelled of alcohol. He had been drinking with co-workers at the Beachside Grill in Encinitas before getting behind the wheel, prosecutors said.
In April, Stockmeyer – a father of two and engineer – pleaded guilty to four felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI, driving with a measurable blood alcohol causing injury and hit-and-run.
Judge Michael Popkins decided to impose on him a middle term of six years in prison for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, plus another five years for hit-and-run, according to the San Diego District Attorney's Office.
Morrison was a Ph.D. student at Scripps Institution for Oceanography at UC San Diego before she died.