SLO County jury convicted Stiles of multiple offenses, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated

SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced on Mar. 23 that the Honorable Jacquelyn H. Duffy has sentenced Chelsea Annmarie Stiles (27) to serve 15 years and 8 months in state prison for her conviction of multiple offenses, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, which resulted in the death of Terry Tilton (72) of San Luis Obispo.

In December 2020, a San Luis Obispo County jury convicted Ms. Stiles of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated; driving under the influence of a drug causing death; four counts of assault with a deadly weapon using an automobile; leaving the scene of a vehicle collision causing injury; child abuse; and misdemeanor possession of cocaine.

The deadly crash sequence occurred at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2019, on Highway 227 when Stiles, while under the influence of cocaine, intentionally rear-ended an automobile containing a family of four at 74 miles per hour, disabling the vehicle. About 19 seconds later, Stiles drove into the opposing lane of travel striking Tilton’s vehicle head-on at 68 miles per hour, killing him instantly.


The defendant’s 18-month-old daughter and two dogs were also in her vehicle at the time of the collisions.

At trial, the San Luis Obispo County jury was not able to reach a unanimous verdict on the most serious charge of murder, resulting in a split decision of 11-1 in favor of guilt.

“Driving under the influence of drugs is deadly serious, as this case tragically illustrates,” said Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth. “Ms. Stile’s decision to drive in her compromised condition endangered not only the life of her very young daughter within the vehicle but every other driver on the roadway that evening. Our hearts go out to the surviving family and friends of Terry Tilton, who were patient throughout the criminal justice process. Our community is thankful for the jury’s tireless effort and attention in this nearly two-month-long trial, particularly in light of the COVID-19 safety precautions.”

The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol with the assistance of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth and Deputy District Attorney Ben Blumenthal.

A copy of the charging document can be found here.

Contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at (805)781-5819 with any questions.