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Bay Area News Briefs

By Ananda Shorey

January 11, 2008

Mavericks Surf Competition kicks off Saturday

Visitors are starting to flow into Half Moon Bay today in anticipation of the world-renowned big wave Mavericks Surf Competition that begins Saturday at 8 a.m.

A forecast of sunny skies and large ocean swells with up to 30-foot faces could bring ideal conditions to the contest, which attracts daredevil surfers from around the world.

Area hotels are filling up with contest goers. The Holiday Inn Express in Half Moon Bay is full, according to a desk clerk. Restaurants also get a similar influx of clientele during the contest.

Twenty-four of the world's best big wave surfers will be competing. They come from as far as Australia, South Africa and Brazil to catch the monster waves. South African surfers are already in town ready for the event, according to organizers. The Hawaiians are reportedly flying in today.

Last year the contest was canceled due to poor weather conditions and a lack of large swells.

Mavericks 2007 Surf Contest

Nominations being accepted for Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame

Nominations are now being accepted for this year's inductees into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame, county officials announced this week.

The 15-year-old program recognizes the accomplishments of women in communities throughout Alameda County and nominations are being accepted for those who have excelled in any of 11 categories: business and professions; community service; culture and art; education; environmental; health; justice; nontraditional careers; science; sports and athletics; and youth.

A Women's Hall of Fame luncheon and awards ceremony will be held March 29 to honor inductees. The event, which is hosted by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the county administrator and County Commission on the Status of Women, will take place at HS Lordships restaurant, 199 Seawall Drive, in Berkeley. Proceeds from the event will benefit a charity to be selected.

Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 22 and inductees will be announced in late February.

Nomination forms are available online at www.acgov.org/cao/halloffame or by calling the Commission on the Status of Women at (510) 259-3871.

Off-duty San Francisco sheriff killed in traffic accident

An off-duty San Francisco County sheriff's deputy was killed just after 8 a.m. today during a three-vehicle accident on eastbound state Highway 4 just west of Bailey Road in unincorporated Contra Costa County north of Pittsburg.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the accident that sent two others to the hospital, including an off-duty Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy, said CHP spokesman Scott Yox.

The accident involved a Saturn sedan being driven by the 45-year-old San Francisco County deputy, a Honda CR-V driven by the Contra Costa County deputy and a GMC pickup truck driven by a 52-year-old Antioch man, Yox said.

The No. 1, 2 and 3 lanes were blocked and only the No. 4 lane was open to traffic as of about 11 a.m.

The CHP is looking for the public's help in determining what caused the accident, said Yox. Anyone who may have seen any of the involved vehicles before, during or after the incident is asked to call the CHP tip line at (800) TELL-CHP or the Contra Costa County sheriff's dispatch line at (925) 646-2441.

"Even the smallest detail can help us with this investigation," Yox said from the scene.

Coast Guard investigating barge accident

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating today what caused a barge to strike the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge at about 6 p.m. Thursday.

The barge Cascade, being guided by tugboats Delta Deanna and Pacific Wolf, was headed outbound from Rodeo when it hit the east piling of the west span of the bridge while carrying 65,195 barrels of heavy black oil, according Coast Guard officials.

After measuring the amount of oil on the barge after the incident, officials determined no oil spilled into the bay.

An investigation into the incident was scheduled to begin at daybreak but weather caused a temporary setback, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Cilley. The investigation began this morning once visibility improved.

The California Department of Transportation arrived at about 7 p.m. Thursday to assess the damage to the bridge, Cilley said. The extent of the damage is unknown, although there was extensive damage to the barge, said Cilley.

The Coast Guard determined visibility of just 1-2 miles due to fog and a low ceiling, said Cilley. According to Coast Guard Lt. Anya Hunter, weather will be examined as part of the investigation.

Alcohol tests were administered to the crewmembers and none had been drinking prior to the incident, said Hunter. Drug tests were also administered but the results are pending.

The Coast Guard, Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Fish and Game, a Marin County Hazardous Materials team and the San Rafael Police Department are assisting in the investigation.

Cell Phone evidence in tiger case transferred to Santa Clara Superior Court

A dispute over possible evidence in the cell phones and car of two brothers who were mauled by a San Francisco zoo tiger was transferred from San Francisco to Santa Clara Superior Court today.

San Francisco Superior Court Commissioner Bruce Chan said state law has "clearly expressed" that the city's bid to inspect the evidence should be heard in Santa Clara County, the residence of Amritpal and Kulbir Dhaliwal.

The two brothers were injured and their friend, 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. of San Jose, was killed when a Siberian tiger leaped out of its grotto on Christmas Day.

San Francisco's bid to inspect the items now goes to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Socrates Manoukian, who has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday. Manoukian has also issued a temporary order requiring San Francisco police to maintain custody of the phones and car.

City attorneys have said the car and photos in the cell phones may contain crucial evidence that would be needed if the tiger victims file expected lawsuits against the city and zoo.

In papers filed with Chan, lawyers for the city alleged without giving details that the car contains a half-empty bottle of alcohol and "apparent evidence of drug use." They also said the car may have contents that could be relevant to foreign objects found in the tiger grotto that could have been used to pelt or taunt the tiger.

Outside of court, Shepard Kopp, a lawyer for the Dhaliwals, called the drug accusations "more character assassination."

Kopp said, "Nothing is going to come out of this that is incriminating," but said, "Our clients want their property back."

Ten-year-old boy hit with stray bullet while taking piano lessons expected to survive

A 10-year-old boy who was hit by a stray bullet Thursday while he was taking piano lessons is expected to survive but may face debilitating injuries, Oakland police said today.

The bullet was from one of several shots fired during a robbery attempt at a Chevron gas station at 4400 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley Road about 4:30 p.m. Thursday and traveled across the street and into the Harmony Road Music School, where the boy was taking a lesson, according to police spokesman Roland Holmgren.

The boy was taken to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery, Holmgren said.

Several police officers were completing a traffic accident investigation in the area when they heard the gunshots from the robbery and citizens directed them to the suspects' vehicle, which was speeding away from the scene, according to Holmgren.

The officers chased the vehicle as it sped west on Pleasant Valley Road, continuing to the intersection of 51st Street and Telegraph Avenue, where it struck another vehicle and a parked car, Holmgren said.

The driver, 24-year-old Jared Adams of Oakland, was detained by officers as he attempted to flee on foot, Holmgren said.

Witnesses identified Adams as the robber and the shooter and officers arrested him for multiple felony charges, according to Holmgren. He said Adams has a prior criminal record, including a prior gun conviction.

Officers recovered a loaded firearm in the vehicle, Holmgren said.

Holmgren said the passenger of the vehicle was identified as Maeve Clifford and she was arrested on robbery charges.

The case will be presented to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for filing charges against Adams and Clifford, Holmgren said.

Body found in Bethany Reservoir identified

The Alameda County coroner's bureau confirmed today that a body discovered by divers in the Bethany Reservoir on Thursday is that of missing fisherman Eric Wright.

The body of the 32-year-old was discovered just after 3 p.m. near the area where Wright's boat was seen capsized the afternoon of Dec. 23, sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

Wright, a Tracy resident, was fishing in the reservoir, located in a state recreation area northeast of Livermore, with his father-in-law, Nelson said. He reportedly asked his father-in-law if he could take the boat out for another spin around the reservoir before leaving for the day, Sgt. James Jukich said.

His father-in-law agreed, saying he would go to the bathroom and retrieve the truck used to transport the 12-foot aluminum boat before coming back to the boat ramp, according to Jukich.

The father-in-law returned to see the boat capsized about 200 to 300 yards offshore and Wright nowhere in sight, according to Nelson.

Autopsy scheduled for Fairfield woman killed in manslaughter case

An autopsy was scheduled for this morning on Lisa Pastor, a 24-year-old Fairfield woman who was fatally shot in the head at a residence in the 1200 block of Broadway Thursday evening.

Solano County coroner's Deputy Ray Lamb said Pastor was pronounced dead at 8:11 p.m.

Police arrested 26-year-old Evan Rowe for involuntary manslaughter, Lt. Al Bagos said. Rowe was standing in front of the residence with blood on his clothing when police arrived, Bagos said.

Rowe initially told police he accidentally shot his friend then said she shot herself, Bagos said.

Police were called when someone reported hearing a gunshot and heard someone screaming for help. Officers found Pastor lying in the doorway, Bagos said.

Rowe recently purchased a bolt-action rifle and went shooting with it earlier Thursday, Bagos said. Rowe planned to have dinner with Pastor at the residence and showed her the rifle when he arrived, Bagos said.

As Pastor was handing the rifle back to Rowe he apparently grabbed it incorrectly and the rifle discharged striking Pastor, Bagos said.

Rowe's 6-year-old daughter was in a back bedroom at the time of the shooting and was not injured, Bagos said. She was placed in protective custody with Solano County Child Protective Services, Bagos said.

Body of San Jose pedestrian fatality identified

The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office identified Estella Manalo Bacong, 50, of San Jose, today as the woman who was fatally struck by a vehicle near a San Jose intersection Thursday morning.

The accident occurred on Capitol Expressway north of Quimby Road at about 7 a.m. Bacong was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said Bacong was likely not walking in a crosswalk when the collision occurred.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Bacong stopped after the crash and police do not believe that alcohol or speed were factors, San Jose police Officer Jermaine Thomas said.

The incident marks the second pedestrian fatality in San Jose this year, Thomas said.

A Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail train fatally struck 50-year-old Randy Walke, of San Jose, on Jan. 4 while he was crossing the tracks near North Capitol Avenue and Ohlone Drive, according to Thomas. Preliminary investigations into the VTA accident suggested Walke was crossing against the crossing signal when he was hit, Thomas said.

Suspect in 2001 Daly City stabbing pleads not guilty

A Guatemalan man who leapt 25 feet over a concrete railing at San Francisco International Airport to flee from authorities will go to trial on charges that he was involved in a fatal 2001 stabbing, a deputy district attorney said today.

Reynaldo Maldonado, 28, pleaded not guilty to all charges during his San Mateo County Superior Court arraignment Thursday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

He is on no-bail status in San Mateo County Jail, but was previously hospitalized under armed guard after his attempted escape Oct. 20. He was at the airport returning to California after authorities arrested him in Miami days earlier for the murder of 15-year-old Quetzalcoatl Alba.

Alba had been a freshman at Westmoor High School in Daly City when on May 21, 2001, he was found dead with multiple stab wounds in a storage room in the carport area of the Westlake Apartments, according to Daly City police.

Both Maldonado and his roommate, 16-year-old Erick Morales, who was Alba's classmate, lived at the apartment, according to police.

A recent tip led police on Oct. 11 back to the apartment, where an excavation in the backyard uncovered the suspected murder weapon, a knife, as well as bloody clothing and Alba's cell phone, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Solano County woman stabbed by estranged husband

The Solano County coroner's office said 33-year-old Adriana Pantoja was stabbed multiple times and died of sharp force trauma to the neck.

Her body was found Monday morning in her family's home in the 80 block of Coral Lane in Suisun. Police arrested her estranged 39-year-old husband Miguel Pantoja at his Fairfield home.

Pantoja appeared in court Thursday afternoon and will be arraigned for murder Jan. 17.


Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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