DUI hit-and-run driver who killed Visalia woman sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The chronic criminal recently convicted in the hit-and-run death of a 61-year-old woman in Visalia will spend almost two decades in prison.

Manuel Mesa learned his fate in court Thursday morning for the deadly DUI hit-and-run crash that killed Pamela Sue Fowler in 2019.

RELATED: New details emerge in 2019 DUI case that left Visalia bicyclist dead

Manuel Mesa was sentenced to 19 years and 8 months in jail.

Police say Mesa was driving drunk when he hit Fowler on her bike.

"He hit her not once but twice and then kept going, which is a clear indication of his lack of concern for others," says Assistant District Attorney Dave Alavezos.

Officials say after hitting the 61-year-old, he dragged her under his car for about 200 yards.

"This particular case was very egregious," says Alavezos.

Officials say Mesa's license was revoked at the time of the crash - and according to Assistant District Attorney Dave Alavezos, he's no stranger to law enforcement.

RELATED: Visalia DUI hit-and-run suspect has dangerous past

Court records show that in 2015, he was convicted for a misdemeanor DUI.

That same year, according to prosecutors, he stomped on a dog and then shot it. He was sentenced to three years in prison for the crime.

"He had been to prison over and over again. When you have someone with this kind of record, we always have concerns of why this guy is out on a particular time," he says.

RELATED: Visalia man killed small dog and threw it in the street, police say

Alavezos says Mesa continued committing crimes while in jail.

"He started fighting correctional officers when he was asked to do things. As a result of that, he got additional time," he says.

The DA tells me he is glad Mesa is off the streets and no longer a danger to the community.

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