By Simran Bhatt and Danielle Silva
Man Allegedly Intoxicated over the Phone, Tailgates Couple
By Simran Bhatt
A man was allegedly intoxicated over the phone while threatening and tailgating a couple who had left their towing company site.
The defendant, Daniel Jaime Vallejo, is charged with two felony counts of threatening to commit a crime, with two enhancements of criminal street gang activity, and one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence with an enhancement of refusing to take a blood test.
The first witness was the owner of a towing company who related the events that occurred on June 25, 2019. He said on that day the defendant Daniel Jaime Vallejo called him. He said that Mr. Vallejo sounded intoxicated over the phone, and he said the defendant threatened harm to the witness’ wife and children.
When the owner and his wife left the residence the same night, Mr. Vallejo allegedly tailgated them. At that point, the wife called 911 as their safety was being compromised. The owner then pulled over, and so did Mr. Vallejo. During that encounter, the witness did not notice Mr. Vallejo to be intoxicated.
Mr. Keeney was conducting a probation search with a search warrant of a house that they suspected a methamphetamine dealer resided in. The dealer had two firearms in his possession, along with approximately 88 rounds of magazines. The dealer was linked to Mr. Vallejo, as footage of both of them at Walmart was identified.
The house was located in Woodland. At around 11 pm at night, Mr. Keeney noticed a small tan SUV parked southbound on North Cottonwood Street. As the investigator shone his flashlight into the distance to get a better look at the SUV, the vehicle then sped up and then suddenly stopped and repeated this before it sped off. This erratic driving caught the investigator’s attention, and he requested that Deputy Gary Richter attempt to catch up with the vehicle.
The second event that Mr. Keeney addressed occurred in July of 2016. The event was a homicide case where allegedly the suspect, a meth dealer, seemed to know Mr. Vallejo.
The third witness was Yolo County Deputy Sheriff Richter. On February 25, 2019, Deputy Richter received communication from Mr. Keeney about the description of the SUV. On the trail, Deputy Richter did not turn on his light or sirens; hence, his video camera was not activated.
He stated that he did this so as to not alarm the SUV and he was not yet sure about the severity of the situation. The SUV did violate some traffic rules, and eventually slowed down outside a residence.
When Deputy Richter approached the parked vehicle he was aware of the odor of alcohol and the dog in the back. Mr. Vallejo’s wife came out of the residence and stated that she was driving, and that Mr. Vallejo and she had switched places.
Deputy Richter then detained Mr. Vallejo in order for the routine DUI test to be conducted. Due to the rain, Deputy Richter decided to go to a shaded location at an elementary school to conduct the DUI test. When they arrived at the elementary school, undercover enforcement arrived too. At the point, the video camera was activated.
More witnesses will be introduced as the trial resumes at 1 p.m. on January 16, 2020.
Deputy Receives Witness Testimony from Witnesses – Together Instead of Separate
By Danielle Silva
A Yolo County sheriff’s deputy received witness statements from complaining witnesses at the same time over the phone, allowing them to hear each other’s statements.
Defendant Daniel Vallejo is charged with two felony counts of threatening to commit a crime, and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. He is also facing two enhancement charges of criminal street gang activity and an enhancement charge of refusing to take a blood test. The incident occurred on Feb. 25, 2019, when the defendant had allegedly tailgated the owner of a towing company and his wife. He allegedly threatened them, claiming he had street gang affiliation. Witnesses noted he may have been intoxicated at the time.
The first witness of the afternoon was Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputy Alex Ingman, a first responder who had retrieved statements from the alleged victims. On Feb. 25, 2019, he spoke with the alleged victims over the phone after they said the defendant stopped following them.
According to the complaining witnesses’ statements, Mr. Vallejo had allegedly followed them for some time and had been yelling threats at the wife sitting on the passenger side of the car. Both her window and the defendant’s windows were apparently rolled down.
The defense asked why the windows would be down in the rain, and the deputy explained he wasn’t sure whether there was rain during the incident or not.
The recording of the 911 call prior to the deputy calling them for witness statements was presented in the court.
The owner’s wife could be heard speaking to 911 and stating the defendant was following and threatening them. These threats allegedly include killing them and she requested that an officer meet them. When the 911 operator noted no officers were located close to them, the couple was directed to drive to the police station.
During the call, the alleged victim claimed the defendant was intoxicated. She noted when Mr. Vallejo stopped following them and took an interstate on-ramp.
Deputy Ingman noted that the alleged victim’s voice during the 911 call was steady and matter-of-fact. Additionally, there appeared to be a soft background noise that was inaudible, but the deputy interpreted as talking.
The deputy claimed that, in contrast, the alleged victims had a different demeanor after the incident. He stated they appeared to be in fear, as the wife appeared to whimper and they said they were in fear multiple times. The deputy also noted the witnesses provided more detail after the 911 call, as emotions appeared to be heightened
Most notably, the deputy’s phone interview was done with both alleged victims in the car, giving their statements simultaneously.
Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Leonard took the stand next. He was the third responder to the Feb. 25, 2019, incident.
Deputy Leonard arrived at 11 pm, where dispatch directed to him to meet with Deputies Ingman and Richter at the elementary school where the DUI evaluation would be taking place. Originally, the DUI evaluation was at another location but, due to the rain, they needed to do the evaluation underneath an overhang.
While he didn’t speak much with the defendant during the DUI evaluation, he detected the odor of alcohol on the defendant.
Deputy Leonard then read the defendant his rights, asking him to choose between a breathalyzer or blood sample and informing him what would happen if he refused. The defendant refused and was booked at the county detention center and placed in a restrainment chair.
The deputy then contacted the American Medical Response, which arrived at the jail. The AMR Paramedic Daniel Gray took the blood sample at 1:07 am on Feb. 26, 2019.
The blood sample vial had forms filled out for the chain of custody and Deputy Leonard then placed the sample in the evidence refrigerator.
Paramedic Daniel Gray took the stand next, explaining how he remembered the Feb. 26, 2019, blood draw sometime past 1 am. He said he had only done a handful of such in Yolo County.
Gray received a request to draw a blood sample from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, receiving a vacuum-sealed vial from the officer he contacted at the department. He walked the court through the process of drawing the blood and stated he also established documentation for the chain of custody.
Samantha Preciado, the Property and Evidence Technician at the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, testified to transporting the blood vial from the evidence refrigerator to the Department of Justice. She also provided the chain of custody documentation.
Jyoti Malik, a Criminalist at the Sacramento Laboratory, testified to analyzing the blood vial for alcohol. She noted the specialized scientific instrument she used and provided the chain of custody and her typed analysis to the court.
The deputy district attorney produced the document to the jury via a projector, and directed the witness to use the laser pointer to highlight the blood analysis on the screen. She pointed to the summary which noted the amount of alcohol in the blood sample, but she did not say the amount in court. The amount could not be seen clearly from the projector but the document will be available to the jury during deliberation.
The last two witnesses spoke about an event on July 1, 2016.
One witness, J.H., stated he had been driving home from the supermarket with the windows down and listening to music. He was on a two-way street with one lane on each side. As he turned right onto 5th Street, the witness noticed the car driving toward him to be swerving, with the driver ducking down.
As he passed the vehicle, the witness allegedly made eye contact with a man standing behind the swerving vehicle with a firearm pointed at it and firing. He described this man as a skinny, longer-haired Hispanic man who greased back his hair. The witness claimed to have heard at least three gunshots.
Another man appeared to be coming down from the sidewalk to the street, also holding a firearm. The witness described him as a heavier-set individual with shorter hair.
The witness continued to drive home and immediately went inside his house, telling his girlfriend and friend at the home to help him lock the windows and doors. A few minutes later, the two individuals from the street came to his door and knocked for him to let them in. The witness’ dog, however, barked at them.
As the witness called 911, the two men ran, breaking down the side door to his backyard and climbing over the back fence. Police arrived on the scene sometime later.
The witness noted that he was in a very busy time in his life and he didn’t like thinking about the incident. Following the encounter, he was shown a week of line-ups and video footage, narrowing down the shooter to two people but not deciding on one.
The defense noted that, at the time, the witness stated he had only seen one shooter but now was saying there were two shooters. While the witness noted he didn’t recall that statement, he believed what he said at that time to be true.
The last witness of the day, P.S., was familiar with the defendant from school. He noted that on July 1, 2016, he had gone to get a parajete, an alcoholic chocolate milk drink, from 7 to 8 pm. At the time, he offered to pick up Mr. Vallejo.
The jury trial is set to reconvene tomorrow at 8:30 am.