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Man who drove his car into Big Bear Lake – with his immobile wife and dog inside – convicted of murder

By in Press Enterprise on February 1, 2018

By Gail Wesson

The man who was heard saying, “She is not going to get out of this one,” after driving his car with his wife into Big Bear Lake was convicted of second degree murder Tuesday, Jan. 30, according to a San Bernardino County District Attorney’s news release.

Ronald Hitchcock (Photo courtesy of San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office)

Ronald Hitchcock, 61, of Big Bear City, faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison when sentenced Feb. 28 at the San Bernardino Justice Center for the 2012 incident.

The jury also convicted Hitchcock of animal cruelty because a Labrador retriever dog named Onyx also was in the car.

Deborah Crouch (Photo courtesy of San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office)Deborah Crouch (Photo courtesy of San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office)

When Hitchcock drove the car into the lake in September 2012, he got himself out of the vehicle but his wife, Deborah Crouch, 53, was suffering from serious health issues, rendering her unable to walk.

An autopsy determined she drowned, but also found that she had bruising all over her body consistent with physical violence and defensive wounds, according to the news release.

During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Melissa Monrreal presented a dive video taken with a GoPro camera that showed the victim floating in the car and the dog pinned between a partially rolled down window with his head out and body still in the car.

A neighbor near the crime scene called for help and heard Hitchcock banging on a fence and making the comment, “She is not going to get out of this one.”

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