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Windsor man who killed 5 in 2007 wreck avoids prison in pursuit case

  • Ryan Karr in 2010. (PD FILE, 2010)

A Windsor man convicted in a Highway 101 crash that killed five family members will not return to prison for leading police on a vehicle pursuit while he was on parole.

Ryan O'Dell Karr, 32, was sentenced to four years in prison for the 2007 crash north of Santa Rosa in which he rear-ended a Honda Civic while high on drugs.

He was on parole in December 2012 when officers spotted him sitting in a pickup at about 2 a.m. near Santa Rosa Junior College. When they tried to question him, he fled and remained at large for the next seven months.

Prosecutors charged him with two felonies and a misdemeanor, triggering stiff sentencing under the state's three-strikes law. Probation Department officials recommended a punishment of 26 years to life.

But Judge Dana Simonds reduced the felonies after reading a letter from Karr and hearing argument from his attorney, Andy Martinez.

She put him on three years' probation.

Prosecutor Bud McMahon expressed disappointment, saying Karr behaved badly on parole. Also, he has a separate domestic violence case that is pending, McMahon said.

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