Fog City News Briefs
By Lara Moscrip
June 6, 2007
Delgado's defense restricted in Tongan royal family vehicular
Alleged evidence that the type of car that flipped over in July
on U.S. Highway 101, killing members of the Tongan royal family
who were inside, may be prone to rollovers cannot be used to defend
the teen accused of causing the crash, her defense attorney said
Edith Delgado, 19, of Redwood City, is currently standing trial
for the July 5 fatal crash on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in Menlo
Prosecutors allege Delgado was speeding and weaving in and out
of traffic in her white Ford Mustang at about 9 p.m. when she
struck a red Ford Explorer, causing it to lose control and roll
over several times before landing on its roof.
Tonga's Prince Tu'ipelehake, 54; Princess Kaimana Tu'ipelehake,
45; and their driver, Vinisia Hefa, 36, were in the Explorer and
were pronounced dead at the site of the crash, according to the
California Highway Patrol.
A lawsuit filed on Monday in Santa Clara County Superior Court
against the Ford Motor Co., on behalf of members of the Tongan
royal family, alleges the Ford Explorer's design and manufacture
was the main cause of the deaths, said Richard Alexander, a San
Jose attorney who filed the suit.
According to the lawsuit, Ford officials knew the 1998 Ford Explorer,
like the one driven by Hefa, "was inherently unstable"
and "had a dangerous tendency to trip, rollover or flip...especially
in emergency freeway turning maneuvers."
Outside a San Mateo County Superior courtroom Tuesday afternoon,
defense attorney Randy Moore acknowledged the lawsuit but said
that product liability cannot be introduced as a defense in a
criminal case such as his, because he has already conceded that
Delgado "started the chain of events by making an unsafe
lane change" that led to the fatal crash.
Three days of testimony have already been completed in the trial,
which is estimated to last two weeks.
Moore said Tuesday he and Delgado have not yet decided whether
she will testify in her own defense.
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday at 9 a.m., with
witness testimony expected to resume in the afternoon.
Delgado remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail. If convicted
of all the charges she is facing, she could face a maximum of
eight years in prison, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney
BART rules out mechanical problem following smoke evacuation
Bay Area Rapid Transit authorities have ruled out that a mechanical
problem on a train caused the Embarcadero station in San Francisco
to be evacuated Tuesday morning after smoke filled the station,
a BART spokesman said.
"We will have to wait until the train service ends tonight
to be able to inspect the track way," BART spokesman Linton
Johnson said Tuesday afternoon.
BART halted trains between San Francisco and the East Bay and
San Francisco Municipal Railway halted underground trains during
BART started moving again at 9:45 a.m., but passengers faced
delays system wide, BART spokesman Jim Allison.
A track inspection revealed no damage, Allison said.
"There is no word yet on what caused the smoke," he
Firefighters from the San Francisco Fire Department walked the
tracks at the Embarcadero and Montgomery stations but didn't find
the cause of the smoke, said San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge.
"Chances are it was just a little spark," Talmadge
said. "There is paper and all kinds of stuff on the track."
While fire officials did a cursory check to see if there were
any signs of a fire, BART officials who know the track inside
and out will be doing a more thorough inspection overnight, Linton
There was a report at 9 a.m. of smoke in the tunnel between the
Embarcadero and Montgomery stations. The Embarcadero was then
shut down, Johnson said.
BART officials told everyone to get out and prevented people
from getting in, Johnson said.
Muni spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said the incident affected them
as well, with all subway service being halted. Surface shuttles
were secured for transportation along Market Street, she said.
Contra Costa County supervisors move to ban water-skiing in
Despite passionate opposition from the Discovery Bay community,
Contra Costa County Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to
pass an ordinance banning water-skiing and other tow sports in
a three-mile stretch of the Delta in Discovery Bay.
The ordinance, which was amended Tuesday to only ban towing on
weekends and holidays from the beginning of April to the end of
September in a three-mile section of Indian Slough and Warner
Cut, will go before the board June 12 for final adoption. If it
passes, it will go into effect 30 days later.
Supervisor Mary Piepho, who introduced the ordinance at the request
of the Discovery Bay Community Services District board, said that
since 1995 there have been 59 accidents and four deaths in that
area of the Delta, although she admitted that none of the fatalities
were water-skiing related.
"The reality is that current statistics don't really point
the finger, in my view, at the skiers," Contra Costa County
Sheriff Warren Rupf pointed out, a comment that drew loud applause
from the packed audience.
Rupf, a water-skier himself, said that there have only been three
fatalities in that area of the Delta in the past eight years-the
fourth fatality was not water-related-and none of them were related
to water-skiers or any other tow sport.
All of the 11 water-skiers who have been injured in the Delta
in the past 12 years were injured because they fell over and got
hurt, not because they were skiing in a dangerous area, said 20-year
Discovery Bay resident Scott Rister.
"It's already illegal to ski when it's dangerous,"
said Discovery Bay resident Keith Erickson.
"I don't understand how water-skiing became the target when
speed is the cause," said San Ramon resident Michael Jolley.
San Mateo County gets go-ahead to consolidate mental health
The San Mateo County Health Department was given the go-ahead
Tuesday to consolidate its mid-county mental health clinics into
one new facility located in a residential San Mateo neighborhood.
Some residents in the area of the proposed 81,000-square-foot
facility at 2000 Alameda de las Pulgas expressed concern to county
supervisors on Tuesday morning that patients with mental illnesses
would be visiting a clinic directly across the street from an
elementary school and near two high schools.
Health Department officials, as well as other residents and members
of area mental health organizations tried to allay those concerns
by citing low incidences of crime in the areas where the clinics
are currently located, and asked that mental health patients not
be stigmatized as dangerous.
The facility will provide residents of San Mateo and surrounding
central county cities with child as well as aging and adult mental
health services. The facility would consolidate current mental
health clinics located in San Mateo on La Selva Street, West 20th
Avenue, Pioneer Court and 37th Avenue.
Responding to safety and other concerns related to the potential
of traffic in the area, litter and decreased property values,
Health Department Charlene Silva said, "We hope to be a good
neighbor and a responsible neighbor."
County supervisors agreed, unanimously approving a 10-year lease
for the facility at an initial monthly rent of approximately $210,000.
Supervisors also agreed to hold regular meetings with community
members to further discuss their concerns and possible improvements
to the facility and surrounding area.
Vacaville girl found safe
Vacaville police confirmed that a 15-year-old Vacaville high
school student missing since Friday was found safe and healthy
Tuesday afternoon in Aberdeen, Washington, according to Vacaville
police Sgt. Jeff Van Gorden.
According to Van Gorden, JonCarlos Adley was found along with
his family car hanging out with friends at a local high school
in the area.
Family and friends of Adley had contacted police to help find
him after he was seen leaving his Vacaville home around 10 a.m.
Friday, according to Vacaville police. His sister told police
that JonCarlos cut his last three classes that day.
Adley was found with the 2003 9.5 Saab Aero belonging to his
stepfather that was also reported missing.
Kansen Chu leads Hon Thi Lien in San Jose District 4 runoff
According to preliminary results from the Web site of the Santa
Clara County Registrar of Voters posted Tuesday night, it appears
that Kansen Chu leads Hon Thi Lien in the race to serve the remainder
of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's former San Jose City Council term
in the City Council District 4 runoff election.
With 62 of 62 completed precincts, Chu has 6,651 out of 10,333
votes, or 64.37 percent of the vote, and Lien has 3,682 votes
of 10,333 votes, or 35.63 percent of the vote.
According to the Web site, the absentee reporting turnout is
20.96 percent with 7,250 votes out of 10,415 votes cast and precinct
reporting turnout is 9.15 percent with 3,165 votes of the 10,154
votes cast that way. Voter turn out was 30.11 percent, according
to preliminary results.
The total registration is 34,595.
To view the Web site, go to http://www.sccgov.org/elections/results/june2007/
Residents in Lafayette, Orinda and Clayton pass Measure C
Preliminary election results were made available Tuesday night
regarding how residents in Lafayette, Orinda and Clayton cast
their votes on bond measures and a parcel tax for repairing roadways,
storm drains and, in Clayton, for landscaping of the city's public
According to preliminary results available on the Contra Costa
County Elections Division Homepage Web site, Lafayette residents
cast 3,337 votes, or 62.90 percent, in favor of Measure C. There
were 1,968 no votes, or 37.10 percent of votes cast out of a total
of 5,305 votes. This information takes into account nine of nine
Measure C, an annual $150 parcel tax would be levied for the
next 30 years. The money would be used to repair the city's streets
Lafayette residents also voted on Advisory Measure D, which,
if Measure C passes, would authorize the city to continue to contribute
at least $1 million annually from the city's general fund to pay
for street and drain maintenance.
According to preliminary election results, voters cast 3,652
votes, or 70.78 percent, in favor of Measure D. Voters cast 1,508
no votes, or 29.22 percent against Measure D. There were 5,160
votes cast. This information takes into account nine of nine precincts
Orinda residents voted on a 30-year bond measure, Measure E,
which would authorize the city to issue a $58.6 million municipal
bond to pay for improvements to the city's roads, drains and water
If the measure passes, residents will pay for the bond principal
and interest through increased property taxes. The measure also
calls for a citizens oversight committee to ensure that the money
is being spent as it was intended.
According to preliminary results, voters cast 4,031 yes votes,
or 63.44 percent in favor. There were 2,323 no votes, or 36.56
percent of the vote against Measure E. There were 6,354 ballots
cast. This information takes into account five of five precincts
Clayton residents voted on whether or not to approve an annual
parcel tax that would fund the city's new Community Facilities
District's efforts to maintain public roadway landscaping, trails,
open space areas and weed, vermin and wild pig abatement.
The proposed annual $196.77 tax per parcel would replace an existing
parcel tax that is set to expire on June 30. The special tax requires
a two-thirds vote to pass.
According to preliminary results, voters cast 2,300 yes votes,
or 82.56 percent in favor of Measure B. There were 486 no votes,
or 17.44 percent, against it. There were 2,786 votes cast. This
information takes into account four of four precincts reporting.
For more information and election results, go to http://www.cocovote.us/
Jaime Sanchez found guilty of second-degree murder
After deliberating for close to two days, jurors on Tuesday found
23-year-old Jaime Sanchez guilty of second-degree murder for drowning
his wife in the bathtub of their Concord apartment on July 21.
Jaime Sanchez will be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison
for killing 36-year-old Latda Sanchez. He is scheduled to be sentenced
on July 3 in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.
"I think a life sentence is appropriate in this case for
someone who took the life of a person who was loved by friends
and family," prosecutor Phyllis Redman said outside the courtroom.
Close to 25 of Latda Sanchez's family members and friends showed
up to hear the verdict and many of them attended every day of
the two-week long trial.
During opening statements, Jaime Sanchez's attorney Joseph Tully
told jurors that Jaime Sanchez did not mean to kill his wife,
but only to scare her.
Redman said that Jaime Sanchez, who testified in his own defense,
admitted to second-degree murder on the witness stand when he
told jurors that he had gotten into the bathtub with his wife
while the two were fighting over his infidelity. Latda Sanchez
turned away from him and he held her under the water until she
stopped moving, Redman said.
Two arrested, one remains at large following Alameda County
Alameda County Sheriff's officials say that two men were arrested
but a third man remains at large following a takeover-style robbery
Tuesday morning at a Castro Valley bank.
Sgt. J.D. Nelson said two men dressed in ski masks and hooded
jackets and armed with silver handguns entered the Bank of the
West at 3396 Castro Valley Blvd. about 10:30 a.m., ordered everyone
to lie on the ground and demanded money from tellers.
The men then rushed from the bank in a car driven by a third
suspect, according to Nelson.
However, some of the money taken by the suspects was marked and
the tellers were able to push an alarm, Nelson said.
A Sheriff's deputy who was nearby spotted the suspects' Cadillac
in the parking lot of a Safeway grocery store near the bank and
arrested one of the suspects Nelson said.
Authorities found the so-called "bait money" and ski
masks behind the Safeway, according to Nelson.
A Sheriff's detective arrested another suspect after spotting
the man running toward the Castro Valley BART station, according
Authorities searched the area with dogs and a helicopter but
were unable to find the third suspect, Nelson said.
One of the suspects was positively identified by the bank teller,
according to Nelson.
Authorities were able to recover "a significant amount of
money" from the two men who were arrested, Nelson said.
Nelson said one of the suspects is 24 and the other is 18 but
he declined to give their names.
Nelson said no one was injured in the robbery but said the employees
and customers who were ordered to the floor "were pretty
Food donated in honor of Hunger Awareness Day
In honor of Hunger Awareness Day, Tyson Foods and Kraft Foods
donated truckloads of goods to the Alameda County Community Food
Bank on Tuesday.
Tyson Foods is donating 35,910 pounds of frozen poultry and Kraft
Foods is donating 30,000 pounds of groceries and products.
The Alameda County Community Food Bank is one of 10 food banks
nationwide being recognized for outstanding work as part of the
Kraft Community Nutrition Program 10th anniversary.
Food banks received 40 percent less food in 2006 from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture than in 2002 -- dropping from nearly
100 million pounds to less than 60 million pounds, according to
Kim McCoy Wade, executive director California Association of Food
The loss translates into nearly 40 million fewer meals provided
statewide in 2006 than in 2002.
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