A Gainesville man accused of driving off from a traffic stop with Gainesville Police officers partially inside the car was given a 15-year prison sentence Monday, Dec. 10.
Fabian Mata Garcia had two counts of his most serious charges, aggravated assault on a peace officer, amended to felony obstruction of an officer in a negotiated guilty plea before Hall County Superior Court Judge Jason Deal. Deal imposed a sentence of 25 years, with the first 15 years to be served in confinement. The rest may be served on probation.
According to the terms of his probation, Mata must attend two 12-Step addiction recovery meetings, or an equivalent, per week for 10 years and undergo mental health treatment and counseling while in custody.
“Aside from the drug issues, he’s just a quiet, good young guy. It just goes to show the impact of drugs on people’s lives, and it’s just tragic all around,” defense attorney Tom Csider said.
Gainesville Police officers stopped an Acura Integra around 8 p.m. Saturday, July 7, at Davis and Dorsey streets for an illegal U-turn and because the occupants were not wearing seatbelts, Sgt. Kevin Holbrook previously told The Times
The driver got out of the car and was answering questions from police when Mata jumped into the front seat.
“(Garcia) then put the car in drive while the officer was partially inside the vehicle, and (Garcia) punched the gas,” Holbrook previously told The Times.
The officers involved suffered minor injuries.
During the hearing Monday, Assistant District Attorney Laura Lukert played police camera footage of the traffic stop. The officers were seen trying to jump over to the driver’s side of the car when the car starts to move away from the camera.
“It’s just a sad situation all around, and given the charges that he pled to, that was the minimum sentence the judge could impose on him,” Csider said.
Mata was accused of three counts of kidnapping for the other people in his car who couldn’t exit the vehicle before he drove from the scene.
He received five years to serve in custody for the obstruction of an officer charges and 10 years in custody for the kidnapping.