A 27-year-old man accused of driving drunk and killing a pedestrian is expected to plead to criminal charges today in Klamath County Circuit Court. A sentencing hearing is scheduled immediately following plea negotiations.
Armando Lara was initially charged with first-degree manslaughter and driving under the influence in the Feb. 16, 2008, death of Gary Keppen, an avid bicyclist and runner. Keppen was walking on North Eldorado Avenue when he was hit and killed by a vehicle allegedly driven Lara.
Authorities believe an expected negotiated plea will include a lesser charge, such as criminally negligent homicide, which carries a presumptive sentence of 36 months in prison, said Klamath County District Attorney Ed Caleb.
Lara posted bail shortly after his arrest and has been out of jail awaiting trial.
After his release, Lara helped save the life of a 54-year-old Klamath Falls man who had a heart attack while walking on the bike path along Crater Lake Parkway.
Lara and two friends called 911 and gave Ralph Watah CPR until paramedics arrived.
Several people are expected to testify during the sentencing hearing, including those involved with Watah’s heart attack as well as others who will talk about the Lara in hopes of decreasing the length of his prison sentence.