Man pleads no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence

Meaghan York. Signal File Photo.

A Canyon Country man accused of felony vehicular manslaughter in a crash that killed a 21-year-old Santa Clarita woman earlier this year pleaded no contest to both charges Tuesday.

Joshua Austin, 21, appeared in San Fernando Superior Court, where he submitted his plea after he was charged with the two counts in 2019, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

A “no contest” plea is treated the same as a guilty plea.

Austin was believed to be responsible for the death of Meaghan York, 21, who was driving near Soledad Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road in Canyon Country on Feb. 11. Austin is believed to have caused a three-way collision involving his Ford Ranger pickup, a Toyota Prius and York’s Hyundai Elantra.

The driver of the Toyota Prius was taken to the hospital with minor injuries on the night of the crash.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station incident report indicated that Austin was traveling westbound on Soledad Canyon Road, where he allegedly failed to stop at a red light and collided directly with the driver’s side of the Hyundai Elantra.

Austin was arrested the next day on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol, with gross negligence, a felony.

He is scheduled to return for sentencing March 20.

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