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Friends gather at the crash site the next morning

Two young men were arrested today and face murder charges in the death of Dakota Demott, who died in an alcohol-related crash on Sand Canyon Road on Jan. 10.

Colt Doherty, 19, who was driving the car in which Demott was a passenger, and 20-year old Thomas Joseph Vensko, who was driving a separate car that contributed to the cause of the crash, will be charged with second degree murder.

On the night of January 10, Demott and Doherty were traveling in a Ford Mustang at a high rate of speed on Sand Canyon Road. When Doherty entered a curve, he lost control of the car and collided with a large oak tree, the impact of which ejected Demott from the vehicle and threw him into a fence. Demott was declared dead at the scene.

Colt Doherty

Witnesses had told deputies that there were other vehicles involved in the crash. According to traffic investigator Deputy Mike Shapiro, Vensko was arrested because he was racing Doherty before the crash occurred.

“Even though he didn’t cause the death directly, because he was street racing, he faces the same penalty as the driver,” Shapiro explained.

Vensko had two passengers in the car with him, but they are not being charged.

Thomas Joseph Vensko

Shapiro said Doherty told them he does not remember the crash and he is still on pain medication for back and neck injuries suffered in the crash. He will be transported from Santa Clarita station to the hospital ward at Twin Towers in downtown LA before his arraignment in court on Friday in San Fernando Superior Court.

Bail for each man was set at $1 million. If convicted as charged, both Doherty and Vensko could face life in prison with a possibility of parole.

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4 Comments

  1. This article is full of conflicting info according the The Signal news. Vensko is NOT charged with 2nd degree murder but with vehicular manslaughter. Remember people: Thomas is ACCUSED of a crime. We know Thomas well and the details of this case quite intimately and he is INNOCENT. The detectives and the DA are on a crusade of self importance and seemed determined to try to ruin an innocent kid YES A KIDS, life. In no way did Thomas have anything to with the very negligent and reckless decision of drinking and driving at over 100mph that resulted in the tragic death of Dakota.

    • scvtv says:

      Thanks for the message, Scott. When it comes to The Signal, remember you’ve got to consider the source. Both young men were charged with second degree murder. The press release from the District Attorney’s office follows.

      SAN
      FERNANDO – Two young men were arrested today on a felony
      complaint for arrest warrant charging them with murder in connection
      with the death of a friend early this year during a street race
      between two cars in Santa Clarita.

      The defendants – both from Canyon Country — were named in a felony
      complaint for arrest warrant filed by the District Attorney’s Office
      on Tuesday. They were arrested by Sheriff’s investigators and are
      scheduled to appear for arraignment tomorrow in San Fernando
      Superior Court, Dept. S.

      Bail for each was recommended at $1 million. If convicted, each
      defendant faces a state prison sentence of life with the possibility
      of parole.

      Charged in case No. PA 074271 are Colt Sean Doherty, 19 (dob
      12/28/1992), and Thomas Joseph Vensko, 20 (dob 3/19/1992). Each are
      charged with one count of second-degree murder. Doherty additionally
      was charged with one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while
      intoxicated while Vensko was charged with vehicular manslaughter. It
      also was alleged that Vensko fled the scene of the crime.

      Doherty also was charged with one count of D.U.I. causing injury. It
      was alleged he personally inflicted great bodily injury the victim.

      Dakota Demott, 19, a passenger in Doherty’s Mustang, was thrown out
      of the car and killed on Jan. 10, 2012, when the vehicle crashed
      while street racing a Honda driven by Vensko in Santa Clarita. The
      crash occurred after the cars left a fast food restaurant at Sand
      Canyon Road shortly before 11 p.m., authorities said.

      Vensko, who had two passengers in his car, fled. Doherty’s car
      crashed into a tree, killing Demott and critically injuring Doherty.
      Doherty has since recovered, according to authorities.

      Deputy District Attorney Ruby Arias of the San Fernando branch
      office is prosecuting the case.

    • Jennifer says:

      If thomas was so innocent why did he run?

    • Jennifer says:

      So why did Thomas flee the scene if hes so innocent?

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