A Sonora-area doctor convicted of triple-manslaughter could be released early from the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation after he becomes eligible for parole in September 2020.
Danny Anderson was sentenced to serve five years and four months in state prison by Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Donald Segerstrom for his role in causing a vehicle crash on J-59 in La Grange in October 2016 that killed three people and injured three others.
His offense was classified as non-violent, said CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thornton, so he is eligible to serve his sentence at 50 percent and be reviewed for parole before his earliest possible release date in May 2021.
Thornton cautioned that the review process hinged on a variety of factors, which include Anderson’s conduct while in prison and the parole decision made by a deputy commissioner appointed by the CDCR Board of Parole Hearings.
“That earliest possible release date could even get moved back,” she said. “He could [get released early], but 80 percent of people going through that process don’t.”
Anderson remains in the custody of the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, awaiting transfer to a permanent facility. He was admitted to the facility on Jan. 29.
Lt. Christine Zoucha at DVI said it takes about two to three months for an inmate to be transferred to a permanent facility.
Anderson, 71, received 290 days of credit, or double the time he spent in the Tuolumne County Jail, before he was transferred to CDCR custody, Thornton said.
According to a Board of Parole Hearings website provided by Thornton, Anderson would have to serve the full term of his primary offense, or the single crime with the longest term of imprisonment, before being eligible for a parole review.
Anderson received a sentence of four years and eight months (1,780 days) for the three triple manslaughter charges convictions (comprised of one two-year sentence and two sentences of one year and four months).
Subtracting for 50 percent credit and 290 days time served, Anderson will be approximately 600 days away from his parole eligibility date in mid-September 2020.
Zoucha said an inmate’s parole eligibility date is determined by the reception process at DVI. On Feb. 11, Anderson’s case factors were reviewed to classify him as eligible for the nonviolent parole review process. On Feb. 19, his earliest possible release date was confirmed.
Anderson was sentenced to eight months in prison for reckless driving, which would bring him to the release date of May 2021. Anderson was also sentenced to three years on the hit-and-run charge and one year for obstructing a police investigation that are to be served concurrently to his principal sentence.
Thornton said a CDCR case records analyst was not available to confirm the equation of Anderson’s sentence. She said, according to her information, he was eligible to serve 50 percent time on the reckless driving charge as well.
Thornton said the September 2020 date is not a release date, but the date the parole review process could be initiated. The date is subject to change and there is no guarantee that the board will review it.
At least 35 days before the date, Anderson will be reviewed electronically to determine if he meets public safety criteria. Disqualifiers for parole eligibility include if an inmate is found guilty of serious rules violations, often related to drugs or gang-related activity.
If he is approved, he has 30 days to write a statement to the parole board, who will also solicit responses from victims, victims’ family members and the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s office.
A civil appointee known as a deputy commissioner will then review if he is eligible for early release based on his convictions, criminal history, prison conduct and the provided statements.
If the board approves his release, Anderson will be freed from prison 60 days after the decision. If Anderson is refused early release, he can return to the parole board again one year later.
Thornton said only about 20 percent of the referrals to the board in the non-violent parole review process were approved as of Jan. 31, 2019.
Anderson is facing two wrongful death lawsuits from victims, with one of the cases claiming at least $2.5 million in damages.
The family of Tina Hoffman and Trista Hoffman previously declined to disclose the damages requested in their lawsuit.
Trista Hoffman, 16, the driver of a 2002 Lexus RX300, died with her mother, Tina, and 2009 Toyota Camry passenger Reinholt John Eismann in the October 2016 crash.
Anderson, driving northbound in an Acura MDX, was found guilty of causing the accident with gross negligence for crossing the double-yellow lines into the southbound lane to pass two vehicles.
The maneuver caused southbound driver Trista Hoffman to swerve and crash head-on with the 2009 Toyota Camry that Anderson passed.
Anderson returned to the scene and administered CPR to Tina Hoffman, who was ejected from the front passenger seat into the road, but left the scene without telling the California Highway Patrol Officer he was involved in the accident.
Trista’s brother, Dillon Hoffman, sustained two broken legs. Her friend, Annie Johnson, sustained a traumatic brain injury, and Camry driver Dorothy Eismann sustained minor injuries.
Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.