San Francisco Bay Area Friday Midday News Roundup

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Two Struck, One Fatally, By Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy In Patrol Car

Two pedestrians were struck, one fatally, by an Alameda County sheriff's deputy driving in unincorporated Hayward early this morning, a California Highway Patrol lieutenant said.

The collision was reported at about 4:30 a.m. at Mission Boulevard and Cherry Way, CHP Lt. Chris Sherry said.

A man was struck and killed by the deputy's car while a woman was also injured and was taken to a hospital, Sherry said. He did not immediately have information on the woman's condition.

The deputy, a nine-year veteran of the sheriff's office, was not injured, Sherry said.

The name of the man who was killed was not yet being released this morning.

Mission Boulevard remained closed in both directions as of shortly after 7 a.m. as a result of the collision, which is under investigation.

Teen Brother, Sister Killed In Richmond Shooting Thursday Night

A brother and sister were shot and killed in Richmond on Thursday night, a police lieutenant said.

Richmond residents Darian Holly, 16, and his sister Mercedes Williams, 19, were standing with a group of people in front of a home in the 4100 block of McLaughlin Street around 9:45 p.m. when two suspects approached and opened fire, Richmond police Lt. Bisa French said.

The siblings were struck by the gunfire and pronounced dead at the scene, French said.

The two male suspects ran away and also shot at a vehicle, but the sole occupant of the car was not struck, French said.

The pair then got into a dark blue vehicle and drove south away from the scene, French said.

The two remain at large as of this morning, she said.

Other members of the group were not injured in the shooting, French said.

San Francisco Town Hall Meeting Today About Fatal Police Shooting

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr will be holding a town hall meeting this afternoon after an officer fatally shot a stabbing suspect in the city's Potrero Hill neighborhood on Wednesday night.

The meeting will be held at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, located at 953 De Haro St., at 4:30 p.m.

The public meeting follows the death of 60-year-old Dale Wilkerson, who was shot by an officer in the 900 block of De Haro Street after police responded to the area around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Wilkerson allegedly charged at police with a hammer after a stabbing was reported in the area, police said.

A man had called police and said he stabbed his brother-in-law. During the call to 911, police heard someone in the background yelling for help.

When police responded, they found a victim also in his 60s suffering from multiple stab wounds to his head, arms, and chest.

Wilkerson allegedly came toward police with the hammer when officers went to assist the stabbing victim.

Police told Wilkerson to drop his weapon, but he allegedly refused, prompting an officer to fire his service weapon in self-defense, according to police.

Wilkerson and the victim were taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where Wilkerson died. The brother-in-law is expected to survive his injuries, police said.

Police said a machete was found near the scene of the stabbing.

Santa Rosa Driver Pleads No Contest To Hit-And-Run Death

A Santa Rosa man pleaded no contest this morning to hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter charges in connection with the death of a pedestrian in February.

Steven Harry Heath, 60, faces a maximum of four years in state prison when he is sentenced in Sonoma County Superior Court on June 5 for felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence charges.

Heath is charged with killing 64-year-old George Michael Black, of Pacifica, who was struck by Heath's 2011 Mercedes Benz S550 in the 4600 block of Montgomery Drive in Santa Rosa around 1 p.m. on Feb. 27.

Black was found on the south side of the road and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was walking to a nearby park when he was struck by the Mercedes.

Heath's attorney Steven Gallenson contacted police on March 1 and gave police Heath's address. Police found and impounded the Mercedes in the garage of Heath's home on Pepperwood Road in Santa Rosa.

Heath was arrested and booked into Sonoma County Jail, but posted bail and has been out of custody since then.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner said prosecutors will not recommend a specific sentence to Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite until speaking further with Black's family.

Genetech Shuttle Bus Collides With Car On Divisadero Street

A commuter shuttle and SUV collided on San Francisco's Divisadero Street this morning, blocking traffic on the thoroughfare, police and Municipal Railway officials said.

The Genentech bus, a shuttle for employees at the South San Francisco-based biotech company, collided with the car around 7:25 a.m. at Divisadero and Pine streets, police Officer Gordon Shyy said.

The man driving the SUV was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with minor injuries, Shyy said.

The bus blocked lanes on Divisadero Street, according to Muni spokesman Paul Rose.

Outbound 24-Divisadero bus service had to be diverted until the accident was cleared around 8:30 a.m., Rose said.

Motorcyclist Gravely Injured In East Oakland Collision

A motorcyclist was gravely injured during a collision with a vehicle in East Oakland Thursday evening, according to police.

The collision occurred at the intersection of 79th Avenue and Holly Street near Arroyo Viejo Recreation Center at 6:50 p.m., police said.

The driver of the vehicle stopped at the scene and cooperated with the police investigation.

Berkeley Man Arrested At Santa Rosa Hotel For Human Trafficking

A Berkeley man was arrested in connection with human trafficking at a hotel in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, according to police.

Vincent Andrew Rones, 50, was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, pimping and pandering, Santa Rosa police said.

At about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, an officer was conducting a security check at a hotel when an employee alerted the officer that six people, one man and five women, were occupying a single room, according to police.

The hotel clerk told police that payment by the registered guest had been made for only two people.

The officer conducted an investigation with the occupants to determine whether any illegal activities were going on inside the hotel room.

After speaking with the occupants of the hotel room, the officer believed the women to be involved in prostitution.

The officer believed that several of the women were afraid for their safety and feared the man, later identified as Rones.

Rones was found to have a felony arrest warrant from Pennsylvania for prostitution and pimping, according to police.

Investigators believe Rones and two of the women located in the hotel room have been involved in prostitution together for the last several years.

According to police, Rones and at least one of the women began communicating with three women located in other states via social media sites used for prostitution.

Rones told at least one of the three women he wanted a relationship with her, police said.

Between October 2012 and March, the three women who were residing in other states were convinced to travel to California and join Rones, who made travel arrangements and paid for their bus fare, police said.

Upon arrival in California, the women were taught how to prostitute themselves using social media applications and websites, police said.

The women reported being physically abused by Rones and told police that he did not allow them to contact their families.

Rones was booked into Sonoma County Jail and is being held on $625,000, according to police.

Several of the women asked for assistance and were provided services by the nonprofits Verity and Crossing the Jordan Foundation and the Santa Rosa Police Officers' Association.

Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact Santa Rosa police at (707) 543-3595.

SF Giants Stepping Up Security For Games This Weekend

San Francisco Giants fans headed to a game at AT&T Park this weekend are encouraged to arrive earlier than usual because of increased security at the ballpark, team officials said today.

The Giants are hosting a three-game series against the San Diego Padres starting at 7:15 p.m. today.

The games are the first at home for the Giants since the bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday that killed three people and injured scores of others.

Team officials said there will be mandatory bag inspections and wanding at all gates into the ballpark, which opens two hours prior to the first pitch.

Oakland police also stepped up their visibility earlier this week for Oakland A's baseball and Golden State Warriors basketball games in the days following the deadly Boston bombing.

A fireworks show is planned at AT&T Park after tonight's Giants game.

The Giants' series against the Padres continues at 6:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

65 Uncounted Provisional Ballots From San Mateo County November Election Found

San Mateo County election officials announced Thursday that 65 uncounted provisional ballots from November's election were found last week in a vault at the department's headquarters.

According to election officials, the ballots were found last Friday in the vault inside a covered bin that had prevented them from being seen.

The 65 ballots, which came from the Redwood City voting center, included 35 from eligible voters, with the other 30 coming from people who were ineligible or had already voted in the election.

The number of uncounted ballots did not change the outcome of any contests or measures, so the county's election results remain certified, said San Mateo County chief elections officer Mark Church.

"This is an unfortunate and completely unacceptable incident. There is simply no excuse for this type of error in the elections process," Church said in a statement.

"The importance and significance of each vote cannot be understated. It is the cornerstone of our democracy," he said. "Proper steps will be taken to avoid incidents of this nature from ever occurring again."

The provisional ballots will remain sealed in their envelopes and will be destroyed after 22 months, in accordance with election laws, according to the department.

New UC Berkeley Police Chief Named

University of California at Berkeley has a new police chief, campus officials announced Thursday.

Margo Bennett, 59, a UC Berkeley police captain with more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, was named the new top cop in the department.

Bennett had been serving as interim chief since Dec. 30 after former Chief Mitch Celaya retired, according to school officials.

"I am honored to have been selected for this position," Bennett said in a statement. "We have a highly skilled and dedicated police force at UC Berkeley, and I am committed to moving us to a higher level."

Bennett joined the department as a captain in 2002 after previously working for the FBI and as police chief of the Northern Virginia Community College Police Department.

UC Berkeley police oversee the main campus, as well as other UC-owned properties such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University Village in Albany, according to school officials.

Watsonville Traffic Stop Results In Discovery Of Meth, Cocaine and Cash

A traffic stop in Watsonville on Wednesday led to the arrest of a 33-year-old man on suspicion of selling illegal drugs after a cache of methamphetamine and cocaine was found in his car and home, authorities said.

Two Watsonville police officers stopped a car on Atkinson Lane at about 6:15 p.m. and found out that the driver, Andres Mena, had no driver's license, according to the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team.

After arresting Mena on suspicion of driving without a license, the officers recovered 39 grams of methamphetamine and four grams of cocaine in the car and $600 in cash in his possession.

The officers then contacted the anti-crime team, made up of city and county law enforcement, to serve a search warrant at Mena's home at 25 Dolores Ave. later Wednesday.

Team members confiscated 11.6 grams of methamphetamine and 3.9 grams of cocaine from the suspect's home and $11,000 in cash in a bedroom.

Mena was arrested on suspicion of transportation of a controlled substance and possession for sales of a controlled substance and was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail, team members said.

Unemployment Rates Continue To Drop In State, Bay Area

Unemployment rates continued to drop in March in California and in the Bay Area, according to employment data released today.

The California unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in March, down from 9.6 percent in February and well below a year ago when it stood at 10.7 percent, according to the California Employment Development Department.

In the Bay Area, the jobless rate was down in many counties, including San Francisco, which decreased to 6 percent in March. The city's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in January and 6.3 percent in February.

Marin County, which consistently has the lowest unemployment rate in the state, dropped to 5.2 percent last month.

The highest unemployment rate in the Bay Area for March was in Solano County at 8.9 percent. However, that figure fell from 9.3 percent the previous month.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent in March, a slight decrease from February's 7.7 percent rate.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137