An Agua Dulce man pleaded no contest Tuesday to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and to driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury, for a January crash that killed his friend and injured two others. Michael Blake Palazzola, 25, was arrested shortly after 3:15 a.m. Jan. 16, about an hour after a single-car crash near the intersection of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Pico Canyon Road, according to California Highway Patrol officers. Steven Richard Kirk, 24, of Agua Dulce, was killed in that crash. Two women identified as Nicole Nogosek of Stevenson Ranch and Chandler Kennedy Richter of Saugus, both 21, suffered major injuries in the same crash, according to a report prepared by the California Highway Patrol. Palazzola appeared Tuesday in San Fernando Superior Court where he entered his plea, Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday. Palazzola is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15, he said. He faces 4 years 8 months in state prison. Palazzola, who was unemployed at the time of his arrest, was released on bail 12 hours after he was taken into custody. His bail was initially set at $200,000.
But, he was taken back into custody in February with bail re-set at $360,000, according to information maintained by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Inmate Information Center.
Palazzola crashed while driving a 2011 Ford Fiesta westbound on Stevenson Ranch Parkway north of Pico Canyon Road early Jan. 16 “at an unsafe speed,” according to a California Highway Patrol report. Kirk, Nogosek (initially identified by prosecutors as Nicole Blair) and Richter were occupants of the car. The Fiesta hit a raised concrete curb and careened off the roadway, the CHP report said. Kirk was killed, and Nogosek and Richter were injured. Palazzola also suffered minor injuries. firstname.lastname@example.org 661-287-5527 on Twitter @jamesarthurholt