Woman Drags Truck Driver To Safety On US Highway 101
A woman who witnessed a fiery crash involving a big-rig on southbound U.S. Highway 101 in San Francisco early Wednesday morning is being lauded for saving a life after she dragged the unconscious truck driver to safety.
The crash occurred around 5 a.m. where the highway crosses over 16th Street, near Interstate Highway 80, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Keenia Williams, 22, was honored by fire and CHP officials at a noon news conference at the CHP's San Francisco headquarters for her heroic actions.
Williams, a San Francisco resident, said she was driving her 5-year-old daughter to school when she looked in her rearview mirror and saw a black vehicle spin out, another car hit it, then saw the big-rig slam into the cars and overturn.
Williams said she then saw the driver of the cement truck get out of the car and pass out on the ground as fuel from the crashed big-rig caught fire a short distance away.
She said she stopped her car and "my first instinct was to run over there, put my arms under his arms and drag him all the way to my car."
Williams got water and poured it on the truck driver's face. The driver, later identified as 52-year-old Concord resident Michael Finerty, regained consciousness and said he was in pain, she said.
Meanwhile, fire and CHP crews had responded to the scene from the north side of the accident to put out the flames, which had engulfed the big-rig. They looked for victims, but did not immediately see Williams and Finerty on the other side of the wreckage.
"She made all the difference in the world," Deputy Fire Chief Tom Siragusa said. "We probably wouldn't have seen him if no one else had stopped."
Judge Granted Motion To Dismiss Michael Gressett's Grand Jury Indictment
A judge granted a motion Wednesday to dismiss a 13-count grand jury indictment against Michael Gressett, a Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor who was accused of raping a junior colleague.
Judge Thomas Hastings issued the decision Wednesday, saying that "even though there was sufficient probable cause to indict the defendant", inadmissible evidence introduced by the prosecution and prosecutors' failure to provide key evidence that would have helped vindicate the defendant, violated Gressett's right to a fair trial.
Defense attorneys Daniel Russo and Michael Kotin had filed the motion to dismiss the indictment, which charged Gressett with the rape and sodomy of his colleague -- referred to in court as Jane Doe -- during a lunch break at his Martinez home on May 8, 2008.
During testimony in the criminal trial, the colleague stated that she faced discrimination and was turned down for a full-time position after reporting the alleged rape.
In the 68-page order to dismiss the indictment, Hastings said that the state Attorney General's office, which is prosecuting the case, failed to tell the grand jury that the woman won a $450,000 settlement after filing a civil claim against the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office.
In addition, the prosecution did not disclose her "alleged comment that she was raped by strangers", Hastings said.
Over the past three years, the defense attorneys have said that Gressett and the woman engaged in consensual sex on May 8, 2008, and that the alleged victim falsely accused Gressett of rape for political motivations.
Attorney General spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said the state is evaluating its options in the case, which include appealing Hastings' ruling or re-filing criminal charges.
Gressett, 54, is on paid administrative leave from the district attorney's office and was not available for comment.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for Oct. 26, Russo said.
Oakland Attorneys Call For Federal Investigation Of Man's Death Allegedly Caused By Oakland Police
Two Oakland attorneys are calling for a federal criminal investigation into the death of a man who allegedly suffered fatal injuries during an arrest by Oakland police in 2000.
Attorneys John Burris and Jim Chanin said during a news conference Wednesday that six to eight Oakland police officers engaged in a cover-up of the beating of Jerry Amaro III, 36, of Oakland, after he suffered broken ribs and other injuries in police custody and did not receive adequate medical attention.
Burris and Chanin said evidence in the case, which suggested that many of the officers who testified committed perjury and obstruction of justice, has disappeared.
Amaro's family was awarded a $1.7 million settlement this week by a unanimous vote of the Oakland City Council following a wrongful death suit by Amaro's mother.
"When you pay someone that kind of money, there's an admission that some wrongdoing has taken place," Burris said.
"This case cannot end with this settlement," Burris said.
The settlement came following a decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a statute of limitations did not apply in the decade-old case because of stonewalling by the Police Department.
Chanin and Burris are calling for a Federal Grand Jury investigation into Amaro's death and the subsequent cover-up to determine if officers involved could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice or perjury.
Occupy San Jose Movement Began Wednesday
Several people participating in the "Occupy San Jose" movement took to the streets of downtown San Jose Wednesday to rail against corporate power.
Consisting on average of around 50 regular protesters, the San Jose faction of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement isn't as strong in numbers as their counterparts in New York City or other Bay Area cities, but they are no less enthusiastic.
On their march from City Hall, where some have set up an encampment for the past two weeks, down to the Federal Building, many protesters chanted "Corporate greed has got to go!" and carried signs that read, "The Planet is not for Sale!" and "Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out!"
Motorists driving past honked their horns in solidarity. One participant said while police officers cited three protesters for camping and trespassing on Tuesday night there are also instances where officers have been supportive and sympathetic to the protesters. He said one night the fire department had pizza delivered to those camped out at City Hall.
"They're part of the 99 percent, too," said 23-year-old Gilroy resident Gabriel Padilla, alluding to an issue that is at the crux of the worldwide rallies -- the economic disparity between the wealthiest 1 percent of the population and the other 99 percent.
"I have a daughter, and when I see what's going on in this world as far as our government, I think, 'what's going to happen to her future?'" Padilla said. "I'm in it to try to bring the power back to the people so that there's justice."
Padilla, who works as a horse trainer in Gilroy, said he became involved with the Occupy San Jose movement when it began on Oct. 2 and has noticed it growing since.
Just like other cities around the country and the world, the movement in San Jose was inspired by the anti-Wall Street rallies in New York City that began last month. The groups are protesting against "banks, illegal bank operations, corporate greed, and government corruption," said Padilla.
Former Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums Gave Testimony In Civil Trial On Wrongful Termination
Former Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums gave his second day of testimony Wednesday in a civil trial on a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the city by former city administrator Deborah Edgerly.
Dellums testified in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward Wednesday morning that Edgerly had reneged on a deal that would have allowed her to retire quietly while police investigated whether she had intervened in police action in order to protect her nephew.
The former mayor said he was taken aback that she didn't follow through with the deal, especially since he was facing criticism for not firing her right away.
"I'm the one guy out here that's not trying to throw you under the bus ... I was taking a beating myself," Dellums said in court.
Dellums finally fired Edgerly in July 2008, a month after police said she tried to prevent officers from searching the vehicle of her nephew, William Lovan, who was suspected of being a member of the Acorn gang.
The incident occurred during "Operation Nutcracker," a police crackdown on the Acorn gang that resulted in dozens of arrests.
Edgerly claimed in her lawsuit against the city that she was ultimately fired because of gender discrimination.
Dellums insisted in court Wednesday that he never discriminated against Edgerly and had tried to contact her before the firing, even though he did not respond to a letter from Edgerly requesting that they meet in the presence of a lawyer.
Though the ex-mayor said he was aware of the letter, dated one day before Edgerly's termination, by then he felt the situation "had gone beyond mutual respect" and that he had no other option than to fire her, he said.
Attorney Robert Shwarts, who is representing Oakland in the case, said closing arguments in the trial are expected to take place on Monday.
Bay Area State Legislators Fight "Assault" On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Two Bay Area state legislators called on federal prosecutors Wednesday to "cease your senseless assault" on medical marijuana dispensaries, but at the same time said they want to talk to U.S. officials to clarify the goals of the crackdown.
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma, and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, spoke at a news conference at the State Building in San Francisco.
"I urge the federal government to stand down in its massive attack on medical marijuana dispensaries," Leno said.
"California voters intended that patients should have safe and affordable access to medical marijuana," he said.
The two legislators said they are considering proposing state laws to regulate genuine dispensaries and prevent abuses of the California's medical marijuana law.
But they said new state laws would be worthwhile only if lawmakers can gain clarification from the U.S. Department of Justice that state regulations would affect the current federal law enforcement effort.
"To be successful legislatively, we would need some indication from the federal government that (the state legislation) would impact" the U.S. initiative, Ammiano said.
The legislators said they hoped to talk to U.S. Justice Department officials within a week or so.
"Call the dogs off and let's sit down," Leno said.
The news conference was in response to an Oct. 7 announcement by the four regional U.S. attorneys in California that they will boost criminal and civil enforcement efforts to shut down large-scale commercial marijuana enterprises.
California's Compassionate Use Act, approved by voters as Proposition 215 in 1996, allows seriously ill patients to use marijuana with a doctor's permission. But federal laws criminalizing the drug make no exception for state medical marijuana laws.
The four chief prosecutors, including U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of Northern California, said they don't plan to target individual patients, but said they won't allow large, for-profit enterprises to operate in the guise of providing medical marijuana.
Walnut Creek Police Investigate Racially Driven Threatening Letter
Walnut Creek police continue to investigate a racially driven, threatening letter received by an elementary school student, Walnut Creek School District Superintendent Patricia Wool said.
A fifth grader at Buena Vista Elementary School found a note on her desk Friday that was "inflammatory in its threat and racial attack," Wool said.
The note, which Wool said was clearly written by a student, was turned over to Principal Cindy Jaconette and she began to investigate.
Jaconette spoke with the threatened child's father before letting the child go home. Police were informed of the incident after a meeting with the child's mother, Wool said.
Police visited the homes of potential student witnesses of the incident. Police, along with Jaconette, met with the fifth grade classes at the school to discuss the dangers of threatening behavior, Wool said.
Police determined there was no real threat of physical danger to any student but the matter is still under investigation, Wool said.
"Students who committed these thoughtless, frightening acts will be disciplined pursuant to the California Education Code and district policies," Wool said.
The California Education Code states a student may be subject to suspension or expulsion if the student "caused, attempted to cause or threatened to cause physical injury to another person."
Dell Plans To Add 200 New Jobs To Its Santa Clara Campus
Dell Wednesday announced plans to add nearly 200 jobs at its new Santa Clara campus, which opened Wednesday and will focus on research and development.
The company's chairman and CEO Michael Dell said that by the end of 2012, roughly 700 people will work at the new facility doing network design, storage development, cloud computing, and software development.
Gov. Jerry Brown attended a 10:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting at the campus Wednesday.
"We continue to be a place of pioneers, of people who have left one place to come over and make something better," Brown said. "And that's the genius of California. So I say 'Welcome Dell.' You're joining pioneers, and you're going to help promote the pioneering spirit for the state of California."
Following remarks by the governor and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews, Dell cited Silicon Valley's talent pool as one of the reasons for the company's expansion there.
"We're here because of ... the talent, the highly skilled workforce that will enable Dell to continue to innovate, to take risks, to drive the new developments in our business," Dell said.
The 240,000-square-foot, two-building campus includes customer solutions and briefing centers, a cafeteria, and a fitness center.
The Silicon Valley campus complements Dell's other research and development center in Ra'anana, Israel, and development work at the company's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.
"Our ongoing expansion here in the United States is proof that with the right skills and talent, companies can grow and thrive even in a challenged economy," Dell said.
The new facility will allow Dell to consolidate several local companies the company has acquired, including Zing, Ocarina, Scalent, and Everdream. Two other companies, KACE and Force10, will remain at their current Silicon Valley facilities.
San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast
It is expected to be cloudy in the Bay Area today before becoming sunny. Patchy fog is expected in the morning. Highs are likely to be in the 60s.
Mostly cloudy skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.
Sunny skies are expected Friday. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s to lower 70s.
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