"The primary reason to dispose of the case was we had a young child who was killed, an innocent victim," Surewood's attorney Ron Miller told XBIZ. "An infant who may never recover, and a young mother who lost her leg and suffered a lot of internal injuries. The briefs for these cases were in excess of 120 pages, combined."
Surewood had been charged with one count of murder; one count of vehicular manslaughter, three counts of reckless driving causing great bodily harm and three counts of leaving the scene of an accident.
"I argued that if the murder charge was sustained and allowed to go to trial, we're throwing away the theory of gross negligence and we're making every vehicle code violation that ends in a fatality a murder," Miller said.
Surewood agreed to plead no contest to the vehicular manslaughter charge and leaving the scene of an accident — without admitting wrongdoing —and was sentenced to six years for manslaughter and five years for leaving the scene of an accident, totaling 11 years.
"Had he been convicted of murder or one of the bodily injury counts, he would have served 85 percent of the time," Miller said. "Brian is going to prison with 750-some-odd days credit, he'll serve, maximum, four years and four months. And there is a possibility, with prison-overcrowding decisions, that he may serve three years or less.
"Considering all of the surrounding circumstances, this is a good result to a really bad situation."
Miller said that Surewood's parents were in court Thursday, along with his girlfriend and other relatives, for support.
Surewood is eligible for minimum-security confinement , and has requested that he serve his time in a fire camp.
"He's been incarcerated indoors 24/7," Miller said. "He wants to get outdoors, and I made a motion requesting that. The court made that recommendation, but the decision will be made by the California Department of Corrections about where Brian will go."
There will be a hearing in April regarding restitution to the victims, Miller said.