Two felony manslaughter counts dropped to one misdemeanor

A Kern County Sheriff's deputy from Taft whose patrol car struck and killed two Oildale residents reached a plea deal with prosecutors that will keep him out of jail.

John Swearengin agreed to plead no contest to one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

He will serve 480 hours of community service and be placed on 3 years probation.

Swearengin was scheduled to go on trial on two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence an faced a state prison term if convicted.

Swearengin has been on paid administrative leave from his position as a Kern County Sheriff's deputy since the Dec. 16, 2011 crash that killed Daniel Hiler, 24 and Chrystal Jolley, 30, at Norris Road and Diane Drive.

Kern County has already agreed to an $8.8 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of the victims.