Jeremiah Clyde Hartline, 29, stole a tractor trailer loaded with strawberries from a weigh station in Temecula, Calif., April 6, the California Highway Patrol said Tuesday.
U-T San Diego said shortly after pulling onto Interstate 15, Hartline began swerving erratically, striking several vehicles and causing multiple chain-reaction accidents that injured several motorists.
The plea deal forced Hartline to plead guilty to four of seven charges. Had the case gone to trial and he was convicted of all seven, Hartline could have faced 12 years, four months in prison.
Instead, Hartline agreed to a possible five-year prison term.
The load of strawberries, at least, found their way into some good hands. Those not damaged were donated to area food banks, U-T San Diego said.