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Former Cuesta student to be tried as adult in vehicular manslaughter of Cal Poly student


Gianna Brencola, who was 17 at the time of the fatal incident, faces charges of vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI and felony hit-and-run in the death of Kennedy Love in late August.
Photo courtesy George Hodan/PublicDomainPictures.net

UPDATE 11/2: The arraignment of Gianna Brencola on Thursday was continued to Nov. 7.

By Rachel Barnes
News Editor

The student who was arrested in connection with the hit-and-run death of a Cal Poly student will be tried as an adult, a judge decided this week.

Gianna Brencola is suspected of being intoxicated when she struck and killed 22-year-old Kennedy Love, a fourth-year landscape architecture student who was riding his bicycle on Foothill Boulevard, authorities said. Brencola then allegedly fled the scene.

Her blood-alcohol level was .148 percent, authorities said, nearly two times the legal driving limit of the .08 percent allowed for motorists 21 and over.

Brencola was 17 at the time of the fatal incident on Aug. 29 and had been enrolled as a Cuesta student for the fall semester.

The District Attorney’s office is expected to file charges of vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI and felony hit-and-run.

The arraignment on these charges, during which Brencola may enter a plea, is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Brencola’s name had been kept confidential until the judge’s ruling earlier this week because authorities were legally prevented from releasing her identity since she was a minor at the time of the alleged vehicular manslaughter.

Even though Brencola turned 18 last month, she could have still been tried as a minor, but the judge decided otherwise.

“I would suspect that the decision was based largely on the seriousness of the offense,” Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham said, regarding why the judge ruled to transfer the case to adult court.

Love was riding his bike down Foothill Boulevard, near Ferrini Road, at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 when the suspect allegedly hit him, left the scene and then abandoned her vehicle on Tassajara Street. Love died at the scene, authorities said.

Police arrested Brencola about an hour later after locating her in her Los Osos home, authorities said.

While Brencola was a Cuesta student at the time of the arrest, she is no longer on class rosters, college officials said.

Brencola has been in custody at Juvenile Services in lieu of $195,000 bail since the fatal incident, authorities said.

The attorney who represented Brencola in the juvenile court case, Kevin McReynolds, said he is disappointed in the judge’s decision to transfer the matter to adult court.

However, McReynolds noted: “I thought that the examination of the case was extremely thoughtful and thorough,” and added that Brencola is doing “as well as can be expected.”


  1. This is such a sad situation for all. One gone to heaven and one who’s young life will never be the same. Xo

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