SANTA CRUZ - A 28-year-old man with a long history of drug addiction and theft offenses was sentenced Tuesday to a two-year residential treatment program and told that he has a prison sentence waiting in the wings if he fails to shake his "raging heroin addiction."

Jacob Lucas Matara was arrested July 12 after crashing a stolen vehicle on Highway 17 near Pasatiempo and then fleeing the scene. He wracked up nine charges from that incident, including hit-and-run, driving while on medication (Oxycontin), driving on a suspended license, possession of marijuana and violating probation.

Tuesday, Judge Paul Burdick noted Matara's lengthy history of theft and drug abuse and said he believed his issues would be best addressed by a long-term residential treatment program. Burdick said Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco was the most stringent one he knew and Matara's attorney, Allen Cave, said that program had accepted him. Burdick said Matara would also get job training there.

Burdick set aside a 2004 burglary conviction for sentencing purposes, which could have doubled Matara's sentence. He told him he would be sent to prison for three years and eight months if he failed at Delancey Street.

Prosecutor Johanna Schonfield said she did not disagree with the disposition, but asked that he get no credit for time spent in drug treatment if he doesn't complete it. Burdick agreed, and he set a numbing amount of restrictions, fines and restitution conditions.

"Good luck, Mr. Matara," Burdick told him.


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"You are going to seal your own fate."

Matara, standing beside his attorney, nodded.

Outside court, Cave said his client was from Orange County and that he wasn't sure what brought him to Santa Cruz.

Follow Sentinel reporter Cathy Kelly on Twitter at Twitter.com/cathykelly9.