Tiffany St. Ives may have escaped a lengthy prison sentence, but the former owner of San Diego's Purple Cow & Friends animal sanctuary still faces a hefty wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Marlene Resendiz. Resendiz was killed more than two years ago when she was struck by St. Ives while crossing a street in Escondido.
Tears were shed in the courtroom as the prosecution described how St. Ives had carried the teenager on the hood of her car for 400 feet before slowing down to let her roll off, before speeding away. St. Ives was also accused of going to great lengths to cover up the accident, having her car repainted and repaired.
When she asked an associate to help her sell the car in Mexico, he refused and later reported St. Ives to Escondido police. Charged with fleeing the scene of a fatal crash, Ives pled guilty and, surprisingly, was only given a yearlong jail sentence by the judge. Counting time served and assuming good behavior, St. Ives could be out of jail in a couple months.
The jury found no evidence that St. Ives was at fault in the accident or that Resendiz would have survived had she stopped after striking her. Shocking to most, the year of jail time barely took into consideration the fact that, for two years, St. Ives had concealed evidence from authorities.
However, the huge wrongful death lawsuit filed by Resendiz's family in civil court last month should keep St. Ives from counting her blessings too soon. The $75 million lawsuit filed against St. Ives will ask that any assets connected to her animal sanctuary be considered. After all is said and done, St. Ives could find herself out of jail, but far from easy street.
- St. Ives likely to serve about six months for hit-and-run that killed Escondido teen (North County Times)