by Antoinnette Borbon
Jesse Trillo, a Woodland man accused of felony evading and reckless driving, expressed sorrow for his actions but felt authorities were watching him on other occasions leading up to the events in June of 2014.
Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson reserved his opening until the beginning of his case.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Jesse Trillo is 49 years old and lived all his life in Yolo County, and like many of us, there are things in his life he would change if he could. Things he is not proud of, but in June of 2014, his future was looking bright. He got a job at the Walmart Distribution Center making 10 dollars an hour. He had been behind on his child support and this was an opportunity to get current. He bought a car to get to work, to better his life,” the defense stated.
“But Mr. Trillo found himself in a Catch 22, he was days away from getting his license back and, although not logical or reasonable to keep driving, he thought if he was careful, things would work out,” Hutchinson explained.
He said on one occasion, as Trillo was on his way to work, police pulled him over because he had no tags. When the officers found out he had no license, they impounded his car and made him walk the rest of the way to work.
Hutchinson stated, “But he was able to get it out of impound, paying a fee of 375 dollars, only to find his car had been torn apart.”
Hutchinson told jurors that the car’s tail light wires had been ripped out, seats pulled out and clothes in disarray. Officers had told Trillo they were not searching his vehicle but doing an inventory count.
Hutchinson said then, again in late May, Mr. Trillo was doing his laundry and saw a police patrol SUV parked near his car for two hours.
On the day of June 9, 2014, Mr. Trillo was at the Salvation Army buying work shirts. As he left the parking lot and got onto Main Street he noticed a patrol SUV making a U-turn to follow him.
After a few green lights, the officer continued to follow him.
“I agree, it was not logical or reasonable to keep driving as they tried to pull him over, but he did not care anymore, he didn’t care if he got arrested,” asserted Hutchinson.
He said the defendant is guilty of the other Vehicle Code violations but not guilty of the violation of section 2800.2, felony evading a peace officer.
Car cam video of the incident was shown to jurors as officers testified to following the defendant for a 15-mile stretch. California Highway Patrol Officer Mancy Turner said in the preliminary hearing that Trillo’s speed was between 50 to 80 mph, but testified during trial to the speed being 65 to 80 mph.
Woodland Police Officer Evan Black testified to being the patrol officer who began following Mr. Trillo near Lincoln Avenue.
Jesse Trillo took the stand to tell about the events leading up to his arrest. He said he had a criminal past but was trying to better his life. Tears coming down, he expressed his sorrow to the district attorney and law enforcement for his actions. But he said, “I just felt like giving up..I knew they were after me, so many thoughts went through my mind as they followed but I didn’t care anymore.”
Trillo said he was two days away from regaining his drivers license and knew he shouldn’t be driving. He said a lot of times he had his sister take him to work or he would take the bus.
Hutchinson asked, “How did that make you feel when you found the car like that?” “I didn’t know why they would do that to me,” answered Trillo.
Trillo said he never drove down Lincoln Avenue that day where Officer Black said he first noticed him.
He explained that he didn’t hear the siren until he got down near the Quik Stop, but then he decided to keep driving. “A lot of things went through my mind, I knew they were after me but I didn’t care. I didn’t have much gas and I wasn’t driving fast, my car is a two liter engine. I just gave up, I guess, ” said Trillo.
During cross-examination, Deputy District Attorney Jay Linden hammered the question, “So are you saying you never drove on Lincoln?”
“No sir, I went to the Salvation Army and left going onto Main St,” replied Trillo.
“So..are you calling Officer Black a liar?” asked Linden, with raised tempo.
“Sir, no, I just didn’t drive on Lincoln, I don’t know what you want me to say, ” replied Trillo.
“But in the car cam, you heard Black say he was following you on Lincoln,” asserted Linden.
“Sir, I don’t know..I never drove there I’m telling you the truth as I remember it. I have my receipts from Salvation Army,” Trillo answered.
DDA Linden fired question after question in regard to Trillo allegedly calling police officer Black a liar, but they were objected to and sustained.
In the car cam video from Officer Black, he does mention Lincoln Ave., but it was unclear if that was the point at which he first began following the defendant.
Testimony ended and closing began the next morning. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict. It was hung 6 to 6. The Vanguard did not get the details on what they hung on. It is likely a second trial will follow.