VANGUARD COURT WATCH: Vehicular Homicide Trial Continues

crashBy Vanguard Court Watch Iterns

On Tuesday, Mr. Purcell, finished his testimony. The highlight:  It was revealed that the construction project was not handled by Caltrans. Instead, a private construction company was hired by the City of Woodland. Closing a highway lane was not part of the plan for the morning of August 8. Around 7 AM, a vehicle ran into the sand barrels at the site.

This caused a delay in construction and the subsequent decision to close one lane. The construction company had to quickly mobilize staff to set up traffic cones and warning signs.

The jury also heard testimony that there was no standard requirement for speed reduction signage in a construction zone. The need to reduce speed is determined on a site by site basis.

Investigator Steve Ruppert, CHP/MAIT(Multi-Vehicle Accident Investigation Team), was the next witness. He investigated and did a reconstuction of the accident. He then concluded the large box truck, driven by Mr. Rosales, caused the collision while traveling at a speed of 70 mph, with no evidence of braking.

Cross-examination by Deputy Public Defender Allison Zuvella attempted to cast doubt. She got Investigator Ruppert to admit on the stand that he cannot definitively determine the speed of the box truck at the point of collision.

He could not even say at what lower speed there would NOT have been a fatal outcome. Also, there was no effort to inventory or record any detail about the weight of the truck’s cargo, a factor that could have contributed to the severity of the truck’s impact.

Investigator Ruppert will continue testifying on Wednesday. There will also be a mechanic testifying. The jury left about 3 pm to examine the truck. The judge, the bailiff, the attorneys and the court reporter went also. I wasn’t invited!

As the trial continued during the afternoon of January 30, 2013, DDA Tiffany Susz played an interview with Defendant Carlos Quinteros Hernandez, Officer Galvez, and Officer Noel Cody from August 15, 2011, while Officer Galvez sat as the witness on the stand.

In the interview, Officer Galvez translated the questions and responses, between Officer Cody and Mr. Quinteros, in Spanish and the jury was given a 112-page transcript of what was said in the interview.

Officer Cody also questioned Mr. Quinteros about the day of the collision from when he first woke up to when the actual accident happened. The interview took up most of the time for trial that afternoon.

In the interview, Mr. Quinteros stated that he had woken up around 1:00am to deliver FedEx packages between Sacramento and Shasta Lake while driving a white box truck owned by the company he worked for.

When Mr. Quinteros was questioned about what happened right before the accident and what happened during the accident, Mr. Quinteros could not explain what he had seen or what had happened.

Officer Cody then questioned Mr. Quinteros about why he could not remember and if he was on any kind of drugs, under the influence, was preoccupied, or just tired. Mr. Quinteros responded “no” to all.

Though it may have been difficult to explain a traumatic event or accident, It was extremely odd that Mr. Quinteros remembered specific details about what happened prior to the collision but could not explain exactly what happened when the accident occurred.

Also, Mr. Quinteros explained how he saw signs but could not remember what the signs said.  Mr. Quinteros agreed with Officer Cody that being a commercial driver requires more alertness and safety than a regular driver. However, it is difficult to follow that Mr. Quinteros could not remember construction signs he saw, nor know what exactly happened right before and during the accident.

The trial will continue Thursday January 31, 2013 at 9:00am in Department 3, with witness Officer Galvez on the stand.

Couple Charged with Possession of Drugs, Armed with Weapons

By Lily Shen

On January 30, 2013 in the case of People vs. Geoffrey Bean and Julianna Wayman, the two are charged with thirteen counts regarding the possession of controlled substances of meth, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin and the possession of the drugs with armed weapons.

Bean and Wayman were in a red Chrysler that was pulled into the rest stop off the I-5 highway on December 29, 2012 at 7:30pm. Officer Mez, the first witness, pulled the vehicle over because it made an immediate U-turn toward incoming traffic.

Bean was arrested when he got out of the car because officers found a bag of marijuana in his pocket. Then, as Wayman opened her passenger door Officer Mez immediately smelled marijuana and arrested her as well.

When Officer Mez conducted a vehicle search, he found a loaded .22 caliber Beretta with eight rounds loaded. Under the driver seat, Officer Mez also found a .357 Magnum revolver that was fully loaded with six rounds in the cylinder. This revolver had a serial number that appeared to have been scratched off.

Next, Officer Mez examined the backseats. He found a green tactical vest with steel armored plate with two empty holsters for firearms. There was also a Star brand tennis shoe box that was on the middle seat in plain view.

Inside the box Officer Mez found two hard substances, wrapped. Inside was a dark sticky substance that was tested positive for heroin. The net weight for the first substance of heroin was 11.55 grams and the second was 19.47 grams.

Also, Officer Mez found a Click-Clack camera case that contained a white powdery substance tested positive for cocaine. The cocaine had a net weight of 13.65 grams.

There were individual baggies and a booklet of numbers or amounts to be owed. Also, inside the camera case was one 50-round box of .40 caliber ammunition. Officer Mez also found a portable lock box case, which was locked. Officer Mez found the key in the center console of the car. Inside, the case contained a .20 caliber magazine loaded with six rounds.

After searching the backseat of the vehicle, Officer Mez  looked under the front passenger seat and found two one-gallon size bags. Both bags tested positive for meth.

The first bag had a net weight of 447.14 grams and the second bag had a net weight of 449.22 grams.  There was also a black purse on the floorboard, which contained a daily planner with Ms. Wayman’s personal information such as her name, address, and phone number.

Officer Mez proceeded to the trunk last. He found four bags containing green leaf substances which all tested positive for marijuana. The first bag had a net weight of 186.18 grams, the second bag had a net weight of 440.41 grams, the third bag had a net weight of 162.01 grams, and the fourth bag had a net weight of 407.88 grams.

Deputy Gary Richter, the second witness, with his long background of experience working in the narcotics field, believes that the weaponry, drugs, scales, packaging materials and money were all part of a narcotic selling business by Mr. Bean and Ms. Wayman.

A recording from Officer Mez ‘s patrol car depicts Mr. Bean telling Ms. Wayman to take the blame for the weaponry, while he takes the blame for the drugs.

There is a dilemma of whether or not Ms. Wayman had any access to the weaponry because the weapons were found under the driver’s seat and therefore she couldn’t have easy access to them.

It is most likely that she knew about the weapons, though. Also, the drugs were dispersed throughout the car, so she had full responsibility for the drugs as well as Mr. Bean.

Judge Holds Man to Stand Trial for Vehicle Theft

By Vanguard Court Watch Interns

During the preliminary hearing of Michael Orenia, the People called their first and only witness, Corporal Pheng Ly, who has been with the City of Davis Police Department for approximately eleven years. In the early morning hours of September 30, 2011, Corporal Ly responded to a report of a hostile vehicle burglary on Atlantis Drive in Davis. Upon arrival, no one was present, save for someone slouched low in the passenger’s seat of a 1995 Honda Accord.

The subject’s facial muscles were relaxed, his eyes were red and watery, and his diction was poor. He did not respond as to why he was in the area at the time. When Corporal Ly asked the subject for identification, he fumbled in his pockets before speeding off full-throttle and turning into a dead-end street.

When Corporal Ly caught up to the vehicle, it was running with the headlights on and doors closed, but the subject was nowhere in sight.

Upon inspection, he noticed a flat metal rod in the ignition, which he believed had been used to start the vehicle. Corporal Ly asked dispatch to call the registered owner, who reported that his car was missing and had last been seen outside his apartment complex in Sacramento around 10pm the previous night.

The owner had not given anyone permission to drive the car, nor did he know who might have taken it. Corporal Ly was able to lift two fingerprints from the vehicle, which were later analyzed. Almost eight months later, the results came back: one matched the registered owner, and the other matched a man whom Corporal Ly identified as the subject he had encountered.

Cross-examination cast somewhat of a doubt over whether or not the defendant is guilty of vehicle theft. In his report, Corporal Ly was unable to estimate the height of the subject he had encountered due to the early morning darkness (with some street-lighting) and the fact that the subject was seated.

While the fingerprint belonging to the registered owner was found inside the vehicle, Mr. Orenia’s was found on the outside of the left passenger’s window. No prints were discovered on either the metal rod or the steering wheel.

A photo lineup presented to Corporal Ly included two of Mr. Orenia’s prior booking photos. Before looking at the lineup, Corporal Ly was aware that Mr. Orenia had previously been arrested for vehicle thefts.

Regardless of these elements, Judge Timothy Fall found that there was sufficient evidence for this case to continue to trial, since Mr. Orenia’s fingerprint puts him at the scene. Ultimately, the issue of identification is for the jury to decide. The arraignment is set for 9am on Wednesday, February 13.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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5 Comments

  1. medwoman

    [quote]Though it may have been difficult to explain a traumatic event or accident, It was extremely odd that Mr. Quinteros remembered specific details about what happened prior to the collision but could not explain exactly what happened when the accident occurred.
    [/quote]

    Medically speaking, it is not at all odd for a person who has been involved in an accident, or any traumatic event for that matter, to remember specific details of events prior to an accident but not to be able to relate details immediately preceding, during, or immediately after the event. This is actually typical of people seen post accidents who provide information in the ER. This is true whether or not there is any direct head injury. I think it is important that the author, and anyone reading and interpreting this testimony be clear that this is the norm and not some unusual or suspicious circumstance.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    Thank you for the insight medwoman, this illustrates the need for expert testimony because if one of our interns thinks this to be the case, so too will a juror.

  3. Mr Obvious

    [b]Quinteros[/b]
    How long had Mr Quinteros been a commercial driver? Was he a validly licensed driver/commercial driver? Did the box truck he was driving require the driver to possess a commercial license?

    I can see not remembering much about the accident. Head injuries can and do affect memory but not knowing if he’d taken any drugs, that’s not easy to buy.

    [b]Bean/Wayman[/b]

    I’ve owned quite a few cars over the years. I’ve always been able to reach under the seat on the other side of the car. It’s may not be easy but come on. I know the bend of the Vanguard but this is a stretch (no pun intended) even for the Vanguard.
    [quote]There is a dilemma of whether or not Ms. Wayman had any access to the weaponry because the weapons were found under the driver’s seat and therefore she couldn’t have easy access to them.[/quote]
    Does Wayman need access or easy access. What is the legal definition of easy access?
    [quote]When Officer Mez conducted a vehicle search, he found a loaded .22 caliber Beretta with eight rounds loaded. Under the driver seat, Officer Mez also found a .357 Magnum revolver that was fully loaded with six rounds in the cylinder. This revolver had a serial number that appeared to have been scratched off.[/quote]
    Where was the .22 Beretta found, other than in the car.

    [b]Orenia[/b]
    Was any explanation given as to why a convicted car thief’s finger print is on a commonly stolen car? I have to question the accuracy of the interns reporting about the lineup. I’ve never heard of a line up with two pictures of the suspect in it, I think that would be a break from normal procedure. Was this a standard six pack line up?
    [quote]Regardless of these elements, Judge Timothy Fall found that there was sufficient evidence for this case to continue to trial, since Mr. Orenia’s fingerprint puts him at the scene.[/quote]
    No question there is sufficient evidence to hold Orenia to answer.

  4. Mr Obvious

    [b]Quinteros[/b]
    How long had Mr Quinteros been a commercial driver? Was he a validly licensed driver/commercial driver? Did the box truck he was driving require the driver to possess a commercial license?

    I can see not remembering much about the accident. Head injuries can and do affect memory but not knowing if he’d taken any drugs, that’s not easy to buy.

    [b]Bean/Wayman[/b]

    I’ve owned quite a few cars over the years. I’ve always been able to reach under the seat on the other side of the car. It’s may not be easy but come on. I know the bend of the Vanguard but this is a stretch (no pun intended) even for the Vanguard.
    [quote]There is a dilemma of whether or not Ms. Wayman had any access to the weaponry because the weapons were found under the driver’s seat and therefore she couldn’t have easy access to them.[/quote]
    Does Wayman need access or easy access. What is the legal definition of easy access?
    [quote]When Officer Mez conducted a vehicle search, he found a loaded .22 caliber Beretta with eight rounds loaded. Under the driver seat, Officer Mez also found a .357 Magnum revolver that was fully loaded with six rounds in the cylinder. This revolver had a serial number that appeared to have been scratched off.[/quote]
    Where was the .22 Beretta found, other than in the car.

    [b]Orenia[/b]
    Was any explanation given as to why a convicted car thief’s finger print is on a commonly stolen car? I have to question the accuracy of the interns reporting about the lineup. I’ve never heard of a line up with two pictures of the suspect in it, I think that would be a break from normal procedure. Was this a standard six pack line up?
    [quote]Regardless of these elements, Judge Timothy Fall found that there was sufficient evidence for this case to continue to trial, since Mr. Orenia’s fingerprint puts him at the scene.[/quote]
    No question there is sufficient evidence to hold Orenia to answer.

  5. medwoman

    [quote]but not knowing if he’d taken any drugs, that’s not easy to buy.
    [/quote]

    According to the previous article, he had answered “no” to that specific question. So unless the police have proof that drugs or alcohol were in use, I think that concern would have to be set aside. This, again, makes it entirely reasonable that the trauma of the accident itself would be enough to account for the inability to remember specifics of the accident.

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