SIERRA VISTA — The driver in a fatal car surfing incident that resulted in another teen’s death last year has plead guilty and will have his sentencing hearing later this month.
The State of Arizona, represented by Lori Zucco from the Cochise County Attorney’s Office, filed charges against Toby Andrew Clair in November after presenting the case to a county grand jury.
The grand jury decided to bring charges of manslaughter, negligent homicide and endangerment after hearing details surrounding Mario Lopez’s death last June from the investigation conducted by Sierra Vista Police Department, which was turned over to the county attorney’s office.
Clair, 18, is represented by Sean Chapman in Tucson.
Chapman did not return calls requesting comment from the Herald/Review. Clair’s sentencing is set for March 27 at 2 p.m. in front of Cochise County Superior Judge Laura Cardinal.
Zucco told the Herald/Review a plea agreement was made Feb. 5 between Clair and the state in a meeting with counsel from both parties and representatives of Lopez’s family present. Clair pled guilty to two separate Class 6 felony endangerment counts and will be placed on probation for a total of six consecutive years, three years for each count, Zucco said.
As part of his probation, he will serve six months in Cochise County Jail and will only be allowed to drive to work, school, to see his attorney and to attend counseling.
Clair will be required to pay a fine of $250 for each of the two counts and if restitution is determined, will pay restitution at a later date, Zucco said.
Zucco said the charges could be reduced to misdemeanors if Clair completes probation. She said she was unable to comment beyond the facts of the case.
Lopez died on June 24, 2019, at a Level I trauma center in Tucson after falling off the roof of a moving car in Sierra Vista. Sierra Vista Police Lt. Sean Brownson said after the incident that SVPD and Sierra Vista Fire and Medical Services responded to a call regarding a juvenile male who “was severely injured with head trauma due to a singular vehicle incident in the area of Avenida Escuela and Blackbird Drive.”
“One teenage male was driving while the other was standing on the roof,” Brownson told the Herald/Review last June. “(Lopez) landed on his head, causing serious trauma.”
At the time of the incident Clair’s name was not released because he was a minor and charges had not been filed against him. Brownson told the Herald/Review in June charges weren’t going to be filed because “intoxicants” were not used by either Lopez or Clair.