By Tiffany Yeh
Defendant Jerald Elledge will be held to answer on a charge of DUI causing injury, driving at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) or above, and enhancements for multiple injuries and infliction of great bodily injury. A third charge was dropped by the prosecution at the start of this preliminary hearing.
Deputy District Attorney Shelby Doyle represents the prosecution and Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson represents the defendant in this preliminary hearing.
Officer Nicholas Helfrich testified for the prosecution. Officer Helfrich is a California Highway Patrol Officer who was assigned to the Woodland area on December 5, 2015.
At 8:20pm he arrived on the scene near Tut St. on State Route 16. He saw an AMR ambulance heading in the other direction. On the scene, Officer Helfrich saw an overturned black Ford F150 with its roof collapsed.
He spoke to the defendant, Jerald Elledge, and a female passenger (who was sitting in the front passenger’s seat next to Elledge during the time of the accident) as they were being transported to the hospital in the ambulance.
When Officer Helfrich asked, the defendant admitted he was the driver. The officer described both Elledge and the female passenger as smelling of alcohol. She was covered in blood, with lacerations on her arms and hands also. She had bruises on her hip and legs, medical staff also stated. The defendant had blood all over him, with dirt and little pieces of glass.
Elledge described that he was driving at 55 mph, westbound, when he was hit from behind and then the vehicle he was driving overturned.
Officer Helfrich investigated the crash site and saw vehicle debris everywhere, the roof of the truck collapsed, but there was no rear or front damage on the truck. The debris only matched that of the F150. However, when asked, the officer stated that he didn’t believe that he (the defendant) was traveling at an excessive speed.
The officer conducted a DUI investigation. The defendant stuttered quite a bit, had red eyes, and an odor of alcohol on him. He described having three or four beers, consumed during the time period of 2pm to 3pm that same day.
Two pre-alcohol screening device tests were done, showing a 0.083 percent and a 0.091 percent BAC on the defendant.
At the hospital, the female passenger said she had been drinking alcohol throughout the night.
Because Officer Helfrich had seen another AMR ambulance heading in the opposite direction, he contacted a fellow CHP officer, Officer Chris Toland, to see if any other passengers were in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Officer Chris Toland, the second prosecution witness, testified to speaking with the third passenger of the vehicle, a female, at Kaiser Vacaville. She was on a gurney with some cuts, gave the officer her name and date of birth, used expletives, and when asked what happened at the time of the crash, she replied, “I don’t know. I don’t give a fuck.”
The officer described her as probably acting that way out of pain. He was not able to understand her at times because of the slurred speech.
Judge David Reed, as indicated, held the defendant to answer on a DUI causing injury charge, driving at 0.08 percent BAC or above, and enhancements for multiple injuries and infliction of great bodily injury.