By Coco Wang
A man allegedly gave death threats to the owner of a towing company after his car was towed. He was charged with felony criminal threats, participation in a gang, and driving under the influence.
On February 25, 2019, defendant Daniel Vallejo’s allegedly illegally parked car was towed from Burger Saloon in Woodland. According to the testimony from the towing company’s owner, a witness brought forth by Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes, Daniel Vallejo called after his vehicle was towed, wanting to retrieve it urgently, and claimed, “My puppy is in the vehicle.” During direct examination, the witness explained that, while he checked whether the doors of the towed vehicle were locked, he did not examine further to see if there was any person or animal inside the vehicle.
The towing company’s owner testified that after Mr. Vallejo arrived at the tow yard at around 10:30 pm, he paid the release fee and calmly signed the paperwork with no signs of aggression. However, after retrieving his vehicle, Mr. Vallejo immediately changed his attitude as the witness asked whether his puppy was all right.
The witness stated that Mr. Vallejo allegedly started yelling curse words toward him and eventually claimed his association with the Norteños and made direct death threats.
“Do you know who I am? I am Norteños…We are the Norteños, motherf**r; we run this town,” the owner believed the defendant said.
Among the death threats, the defendant allegedly talked about knowing the witness’s license plate number and going after his wife and kids.
Unable to persuade Mr. Vallejo to leave, the witness drove away with his wife in the front passenger seat and they soon noticed that Mr. Vallejo started to follow them. The wife dialed 911 and the recording of her conversation with the 911 operator was presented as a piece of evidence in court.
In the recording, the wife of the witness explained that they had just been threatened and were currently being followed by the person who threatened their lives, identifying the name of the person as Daniel Vallejo. In a composed voice, she asked the operator if any police officers were dispatched in their area.
After searching, the operator replied that no police officers were around the area and advised them to head toward a police station. Momentarily, the wife of the witness told the operator that Mr. Vallejo had left, driving off onto I-5 highway.
During cross-examination, the defense attorney, Mathew Martinez, noted a difference between the witness’s testimony in court and the report on file regarding the manner that Mr. Vallejo recorded the witness’s vehicle license plate. The police statement the witness had reviewed on Jan. 10, 2020, also indicated that Mr. Vallejo wrote down the license plate on a piece of paper.
However, the witness testified in court that Mr. Vallejo had taken a picture of the license plate instead.
Another omitted detail in the report was provided in the witness’s testimony: the witness stated that Mr. Vallejo allegedly pulled over his car and ran into the witness’s bumper without hitting his car several times.
The witness claimed that, while giving the police statement, he did not describe the incident in minute details. After reviewing the report on Jan. 10, 2020, he provided one additional piece of information and had been pondering on the details ever since.
Upon the defense attorney questioning the witness’s memory, the witness claimed that his omission of the details in the report was not intentional, as he believed that the full recollection of the incident should be given in court.
More witnesses will be introduced as the trial resumes at 8:30 am on January 15, 2020.