Walter Mencken 2:37 p.m., March 1
Jury decides against mother of girl killed in hit-and-run
Tiffany St. Ives prevailed in multi-million-dollar civil case
Tiffany St. Ives was 52 years old when she drove into a girl walking across a street in November 2007. More than two years later, in 2010, she pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run; the judge sentenced her to one year in jail and granted probation.
Witnesses said it was about dusk when the 17-year-old girl was struck, and then carried on the hood 400 feet before the car slowed down and the girl rolled off onto the asphalt. Teenager Marlene Resendiz died in the street, at the corner of East Grand Avenue and Rose Street, in Escondido.
Police did not have a suspect until January 2010, when a handyman who repaired the car and changed the paint color revealed what he knew, to authorities.
Teresa Cuevas, the mother of the girl who was killed, filed a civil suit against Tiffany St. Ives, seeking up to $15 million in damages.
The civil trial was heard last week, before the Honorable Judge Jacqueline Stern, in San Diego’s North County Superior courthouse. The jury reached a decision on Thursday, January 7.
An attorney with the Coast Law Group, who defended Tiffany St. Ives, said the jury came back with a verdict in favor of their client. “The decision was 9-3 that Ms. Ives was not negligent when she unfortunately struck Marlene Resendiz in 2007,” according to Marco Gonzalez.
The attorney for the woman who brought the suit, Teresa Cuevas, the mother of the deceased teen, said, “This was a tough case, made tougher by the exclusion of certain evidence.” Plaintiff’s attorney, Dan Gillion, stated,“It was emotionally tough because of the information we had, but could not use, showing how little regard Ms. St. Ives had for human life, including the 17-year-old life she left lying on the pavement, and then sped home where bleach was used to cleanse her car of my client's blood.”
The attorney said the judge did not allow him to inform the jury of Tiffany St. Ives’ previous driving record, which he said included at least one prior hit-and-run.
Now 57-years-old, Tiffany St. Ives reportedly owns a home on a 5-acre property in Valley Center. A sign above the entrance gate announces “Rocky Hollow Ranch.”
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