Brencola sentenced to prison for felony DUI conviction

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Gianna Catherine Brencola of Los Osos was sentenced to six years in state prison for her conviction of felony driving while under the influence of alcohol. The sentence is the result of her guilty plea to the charge and admission to having been prior convicted of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in 2018. 

The incident occurred on Halloween evening, October 31, 2021, in Morro Bay. During the incident, Brencola (23) struck four parked cars in the 700 block of the Embarcadero while driving with a blood alcohol level exceeding .30 percent, more than three times the legal limit for driving, which is .08 percent. 

According to a press release from the District Attorney’s Office, Brencola attempted to drive away from the collision scene but was stopped by two quick-thinking bystanders. One of the people physically removed Brencola from her vehicle while the other put her car in park and removed the keys from the ignition. During the intervention, Brencola offered one of them money to let her go from the scene before police responded. 


Brencola was sentenced by the Honorable Michael L. Duffy to the maximum sentence of six years in prison based on her plea. The driving while under the influence charge carries a maximum sentence of three years, which is doubled due to her prior conviction for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes sentencing law. 

“Driving drunk again, after already serving a prison term for killing someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, is without excuse,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “Our criminal and victim justice system cannot force rehabilitation because each person must make their own decision to take advantage of the resources that have been provided. We plead with Ms. Brencola to stop her dangerous behavior and to take responsibility for her future by making the necessary choices to change.”

In her prior 2018 conviction for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, Brencola struck and killed 21-year-old Cal Poly student Kennedy Love who was riding his bicycle on Foothill Boulevard in San Luis Obispo, and then fled the scene. Brencola was convicted of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit and run, resulting in death. In that case, she faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison. She received a seven-year sentence. However, on December 18, 2019, Brencola was released early by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation based on her participation in a community re-entry program while housed in prison. Less than two years after her early release, she committed this dangerous crime.