Fog City News Briefs
By Lara Moscrip
June 5, 2007
CHP recommends charge of reckless driviing for Senator Carole
The California Highway Patrol recommended on Monday that state
Sen. Carole Migden be charged with reckless driving causing bodily
injury in connection with a vehicle accident last month in Solano
CHP Sgt. Les Bishop said the CHP has determined Migden, D-San
Francisco, made an unsafe turning movement causing her 2007 Toyota
Highlander to strike a center guardrail on Interstate Highway
80 on May 18.
Bishop said the CHP also has determined Migden was at fault when
her car later struck two other vehicles at Beck Avenue and state
Highway 12. Bishop said Migden was driving at an unsafe speed
for road conditions.
A Vallejo woman in a 2005 Honda, 31-year-old Ellen Butawan, was
injured in that accident. Butawan, 31, of Vallejo, reportedly
is married to a CHP officer. Bishop said last week he could not
comment on that report.
In both accidents, Migden was inattentive due to distraction
by cell phone use, Bishop said. The CHP is recommending the Solano
County District Attorney's Office file the charges against Migden,
Bishop said. He said the reckless driving with bodily injury charge
could be a misdemeanor or felony.
Bishop said Migden was given a field sobriety test after the
injury accident and there was no indication she was under the
influence of drugs or alcohol.
Bishop said the CHP will request the Department of Motor Vehicles
conduct a "driver re-evaluation" of Migden. The re-evaluations
are done to ensure a driver's safety, Bishop said.
In a written statement Monday afternoon Migden responded, "I
am very sorry about the accident which I caused, I am not driving,
I am in the process of undergoing a medical evaluation, and I
will in no way shirk my responsibility for what happened."
The Solano County District Attorney's Office did not return a
call Monday afternoon regarding how long it would take to make
a filing decision.
Two men, one boy arrested and identified in connection with
Hercules armed robbery
Hercules police identified two men and a 15-year-old boy who
are suspected of breaking into a woman's home Monday morning,
stealing weapons at gunpoint, fleeing police and then retreating
to a suspect's house, causing the neighborhood to be evacuated
and the trio drawn out of the home with the help of hostage negotiators.
Police say that the Contra Costa County SWAT Team and Crisis
Negotiation Team helped resolve the situation Monday afternoon
at 19-year-old Frank Stephenson's house at 2042 Lupine Road in
By late afternoon residents were permitted to return to their
homes and by that time police had also arrested 20-year-old Charles
Howell of Oakland and a 15-year-old Concord boy.
According to police, the incident started around 11:48 a.m. when
the three suspects reportedly broke into a home on Goldenrod Drive,
held a woman at gunpoint and forced her to open a safe containing
her husband's gun collection. The three then allegedly took more
than 30 firearms and boxes of ammunition before fleeing in a black
Mercedes Benz, according to Hercules Police Chief Fred Deltorchio.
Police pursued the suspects until they ran into a mailbox on
Manzanita Place and fled the vehicle on foot.
Police set up a perimeter and searched the area with a canine
and helicopter and were eventually able to determine that the
suspects were in a house located at 2042 Lupine Road, according
to Deltorchio. Authorities were concerned because officers saw
that there were other people inside the house and police feared
that the others could be being held hostage. According to Deltorchio,
no one was taken hostage.
Homes surrounding 2042 Lupine Road were evacuated, along with
a school and an adjacent daycare center. Students at Lupine Hills
Elementary School at 1919 Lupine Road in Hercules were evacuated
from their school around 1:30 p.m. Monday following a police-ordered
lockdown at around noon, according to West Contra Costa Unified
School District spokesman Paul Ehara.
Students were transported from the school to the Hercules Swim
Center at 2001 Refugio Valley Road, across the street from the
Hercules Middle/High School, according to Ehara. Parents picked
up their children from that location.
According to police, Stephenson and Howell were charged with
burglary, armed robbery and evading police. Stephenson was also
charged with violating his parole. They were booked into the Contra
Costa County Jail in Martinez. The boy was charged with burglary
and armed robbery and was booked into juvenile hall.
San Francisco police arrest pedestrian shooter
San Francisco police arrested a Vallejo man whom they believe
shot a pedestrian Monday afternoon and caused a traffic accident
while fleeing from police, according to Sgt. Steve Mannina.
The victim of Monday's noontime shooting at a busy South of Market
intersection is expected to survive his injuries, according to
San Francisco police. He is resting in stable condition, Mannina
The victim, described as an Asian man in his mid-30s, was walking
in a crosswalk at Townsend and Third streets when a man pulled
up in a silver car, said San Francisco police Sgt. Steve Mannina.
"Words were exchanged and the person in the car shot the
victim," Mannina said.
The suspect sped off and police immediately received numerous
calls to 911 describing the vehicle, Mannina said.
Minutes later, police spotted the car less than a mile away at
Mission and New Montgomery streets, in the city's Financial District,
When officers tried to pull over the car, the driver bailed out
of the vehicle and ran three blocks before police took him into
custody at the corner of Jesse and Annie streets, Mannina said.
Police arrested 37-year-old Kevin Lipscomb and he was arrested
and charged on suspicion of attempted murder, being a felon in
possession of a firearm, felony evading police, misdemeanor hit
and run, reckless driving and resisting arrest.
BART celebrates 50th birthday
Bay Area Rapid Transit Board President Lynette Sweet celebrated
the transit agency's 50th birthday Monday by taking a jab at Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger for proposing to cut funding for public
Sweet issued a press release saying "today is a very special
birthday for BART" because on June 4, 1957, the state Legislature
and Gov. Goodwin Knight officially created BART.
Sweet said, "The Bay Area owes those in the state legislature
50 years ago and then-Gov. Goodwin Knight a debt of gratitude
for having the wisdom and foresight to create what would later
be named as one of The Top Ten Public Works Projects of the 20th
Century and the number one transit system in America."
Taking a dig at Schwarzenegger without mentioning his name, Sweet
said, "On our 50th birthday, we are hopeful the current Legislature
restores the deep cuts in transit funding that the current governor
On May 14, Schwarzenegger issued a proposed budget that would
divert $1.3 billion from the California public transit fund to
cover other state expenses.
The proposal would provide $72 million for the Bay Area's nearly
two dozen transit agencies, including BART, for the next fiscal
year, but that amount is $146 million less than had been expected.
BART officials say that if their transit agency didn't exist,
there would be 15.2 million additional pounds of pollutants spewing
into air every day and the commute through the Caldecott Tunnel
would increase from 24 minutes to 3 hours and 15 minutes and the
commute across the Bay Bridge would jump from 40 minutes to 2
hours and 10 minutes.
Retired Berkeley Police Department member arrested for suspected
A woman who was fatally struck by a vehicle in Berkeley was identified
Monday afternoon as an 82-year-old resident of the city, Berkeley
Police Department officials said. Police have arrested a former
member of the Berkeley Police Department in connection to the
Betty Kietzman was hit at 1875 Solano Ave. at about 10:50 p.m.
Sunday, Berkeley police Lt. Wesley Hester said.
"It's just a real sad thing," Hester said Monday.
Witnesses reported Kietzman was crossing the street near the
intersection of Solano Avenue and Fresno Street when a motorist
Kietzman was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced
The driver, Guillermo Robles, 56, is a retired member of the
Berkeley Police Department. He was detained, given field sobriety
tests and arrested for suspected vehicular manslaughter and investigation
of drunken driving.
He was transported to Santa Rita Jail, where he posted bail and
was released Monday afternoon, Hester said.
Jurors begin deliberations in case involving murder of San
Leandro police officer
After hearing contrasting recommendations from a defense lawyer
and Alameda County's head prosecutor, jurors on Monday began deliberating
the fate of a Newark man who was convicted of murdering San Leandro
police officer Nels "Dan" Niemi two years ago.
In his closing argument in the penalty phase of the trial of
24-year-old Irving Ramirez, Alameda County District Attorney Tom
Orloff said Ramirez deserves the death penalty for what Orloff
described as "the viciousness and brutality" he displayed
in murdering San Leandro police officer Nels "Dan" Niemi
two years ago.
Orloff said Ramirez displayed "a selfish motive" in
choosing to shoot Niemi seven times rather than face being arrested
when the officer came to the intersection of Doolittle Drive and
Belvedere Avenue in San Leandro about 11 p.m. on July 25, 2005,
to respond to a disturbing the peace call.
Orloff said Niemi, 42, who is survived by his wife and two children,
found Ramirez and four other men hanging out on the street and
drinking liquor but shot Niemi because he didn't want to be arrested
for violating the terms of his probation for a prior drug conviction
by carrying two guns and drugs that night.
Orloff said Ramirez shot Niemi once in the head and then six
more shots after the officer was on the ground.
The county's top prosecutor told jurors, "Your job is to
do justice and justice in this case is telling this defendant
that what he did deserves the most severe sanction our law calls
for," which is the death penalty.
But Deborah Levy, one of two lawyers who represent Niemi, asked
jurors to "show mercy" toward him and spare his life.
"American justice isn't an eye for an eye," she said.
Jurors began their deliberations after their lunch break Monday.
Milpitas soldier killed in action in Iraq
The U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday that Milpitas
resident Doonewey White, a U.S. Army specialist, was killed in
action on May 29 in Baghdad, Iraq.
According to the Defense Department, White was killed when an
improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle he was
in during combat operations.
White, 26, was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort
Watsonville man facing vehicular manslaugther charges following
his arrest on suspicion of striking San Francisco pedestrian
A 48-year-old Watsonville man remains in jail on Monday on suspicion
of striking and killing a pedestrian in San Francisco's Sunset
District Sunday afternoon, a jail official said.
Rigoberto Antonio Rodas Perez is facing charges of vehicular
manslaughter, speeding and failing to yield to a pedestrian, San
Francisco police Sgt. Steve Mannina said Monday.
The female pedestrian has not been identified pending notification
of her family, the San Francisco medical examiner's office reported
The woman was crossing 19th Avenue at Noriega Street around 4:30
p.m. when she was struck by Perez's speeding vehicle, according
to police. Perez stopped and submitted to a blood test, but has
not been charged with driving under the influence, Mannina said.
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