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Gainesville man given 6 months work release in vehicular homicide case

A Gainesville man was given six months in Hall County work release and must stay away from four-wheelers in a 2017 vehicular homicide case, according to court documents.

Justin Farid Castillo, 22, was found not guilty March 26 by a Hall County jury on first-degree vehicular homicide but was convicted on a second-degree charge in the wreck that killed Vanessa Kay Lindsey.

Georgia State Patrol previously told The Times Lindsey’s vehicle was heading northbound around 6:30 p.m. Dec. 30, 2017, on Harmony Church Road in East Hall. The car hit the rear of a black four-wheeler, driven by Castillo, that did not have brake lights or tail lights, according to state patrol. 

After hitting the four-wheeler, Lindsey’s car crossed the center line and struck another car head on, according to state patrol.

Castillo was indicted in February 2020 alleging reckless driving by operating an all-terrain vehicle in the middle of an unlit roadway at night without tail lights or brake lights.

The jury acquitted Castillo on first-degree vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving, having no proof of insurance and failing to register his vehicle. He was found guilty of second-degree vehicular homicide, improper brake lights, tail light violation and driving without a license.

Castillo’s total sentence was three years with six months of it in the Hall County work release program. He will receive credit for time served, and the remainder of the 36-month sentence may be served on probation.

“(Castillo) cannot possess, ride or be on an ATV while on probation,” according to the sentencing documents. “(Castillo) is not required to sell his ATV but he cannot be in possession of the ATV while on probation.”

The sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Clint Bearden said Castillo shall “work (diligently) towards obtaining his GED,” pass the driver’s license test and attend a victim impact panel.

“The jury did well to parse through what recklessness means and ultimately found Justin to not have been reckless,” defense attorney David Hoffer said. “We agree, and it’s the result we were aiming for from the beginning.”

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