San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Morning News Roundup

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Alameda Co.: Mother Killed When Car Driven By Son Flies Off I-580

A mother was killed while riding in a car driven by her 22-year-old son when the car flew off a railroad overcrossing east of Pleasanton and crashed into a hillside Monday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash happened on westbound Interstate Highway 580 at 3:03 p.m. when the 2012 Ford was crossing the Stonecut Union Pacific Railroad overcrossing and veered off the right of the road.

The speed of the car launched it 157 feet from the hillside where it left the road and over the railroad tracks, landing on the opposite hillside. It rolled back onto its roof.

The driver was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with major injuries, the CHP said.

His mother, identified by the Alameda County coroner's bureau as 57-year-old Wanda Pelillo of Pleasanton, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The CHP has not yet determined what caused the car to leave the road.

Oakland: Jury Rules In Favor of Officers Who Fatally Shot Man

A federal court civil jury ruled Monday that two Oakland police officers didn't engage in any wrongdoing when they fatally shot barbershop owner Derrick Jones during a confrontation in East Oakland in November 2010.

In their verdict after five hours of deliberations that began late Friday afternoon, jurors decided that officers Eriberto Perez-Angeles and Omar Daza-Quiroz didn't use excessive force then they fatally shot him on Trask Street after initially confronting him at his barbershop in the 5800 block of Bancroft Avenue at about 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2012.

Jurors also ruled that the two officers didn't violate the constitutional rights of Jones, 37, or his widow, Lanell Jones, who filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against them in U.S. District Court seeking unspecified damages.

Aimee Hamoy-Perera, who represents Perez-Angeles and Daza-Quiroz, said in her closing argument on Friday that the officers approached Jones after his girlfriend, Latoia Whitaker, flagged them down them at Bancroft and Seminary avenues to tell them that Jones had tried to strangle and kill her in an argument at his barbershop, which was nearby.

But Hamoy-Perera said when the officers tried to question Jones at his barbershop he denied his identity and fled on foot.

She said the officers had an obligation to try to catch him because he was dangerous and could come back and hurt Whitaker or someone else.

But Ayanna Jenkins-Toney, who represents Lanell Jones, said Perez-Angeles and Daza-Quiros had no reason to shoot Jones because he didn't have a gun or any other type of weapon.

The two officers fired a total of nine shots at Jones, hitting him six times. An autopsy disclosed that Jones suffered gunshot wounds to his chest, abdomen, right thigh, right knee, lower right leg and lower left leg. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No weapon was found at the scene, but officers found a small metal scale and a small amount of marijuana, police said.

Jenkins-Toney alleged that the reason Jones fled is that the officers fired at him during the initial interaction at the barbershop and he feared for his life.

But Hamoy-Perera said Perez-Angeles and Daza-Quiroz shot Jones only because they feared for their lives when he appeared to reach for his waistband after fleeing from the officers for more than two blocks and disobeying at least five commands to surrender and show his hands.

Hamoy-Perera said the officers thought Jones might have a gun because at one point they heard a heavy metal sound that they sounded like a firearm that had been dropped to the ground and they thought they noticed a bulge in Jones' pants that indicated he could be armed.

She told jurors, "You have to feel what they (the officers) were feeling and see what they were seeing" when they opened fire.

SF: Hundreds Come Out to Celebrate St. Stupid's Day

Hundreds of costumed revelers marched through San Francisco's Financial District Monday afternoon in the 35th St. Stupid's Day Parade.

"Everyone's got a trickster kind of day, a crazy day in the spring," event organizer Ed Holmes said.

"Spring is the time of year when things start moving, fluids start flowing so people want to get out there."

People came out in all sorts of costumes, including clowns, detectives, and various wigs. Some were blowing bubbles, wearing hard hats, and even using umbrellas with nothing but the wiring.

There was even one person responsible for throwing confetti. "It's costumes. It's silliness. It's absurdity," Holmes said.

Holmes runs the First Church of the Last Laugh, which puts on the annual event, and on this day he goes by a different name: Bishop Joey. But in an impromptu ceremony done in Pig Latin, the people promoted Joey to Pope.

The newly appointed Pope Joey, who wore a pope hat, white robe, boxer shorts, and a Three Stooges tie, led the march from Justin Herman Plaza on a tour of the Financial District, which included stops at the Federal Reserve Bank headquarters, Citigroup, and the old Pacific Coast Stock Exchange.

Through the frivolity of the event, there was a small message. "We make fun of the banks, flip off the financial institutions for getting away with destroying democracy," Holmes said.

"There is a little bit of an edge to (the event)." The marchers threw losing lottery tickets into the air at the Federal Reserve.

They threw pennies at a sculpture at 555 California St. They even threw socks at the steps of the old Pacific Coast Stock Exchange at 301 Pine St. Stock. Sock. Get it? Damasocks Amas, who was attending the event for the first time, took in all of the fun.

"It's very fun and silly if you let it," she said. "If you don't it's no fun. What is it hurting? It's bringing lots of smiles to people."

Benicia: Vallejo Man Identified As Victim of Hit-and-Run on I-780 This Morning

The Solano County coroner's office has identified the victim of a hit-and-run collision on eastbound Interstate Highway 780 east of Columbus Parkway in Benicia Monday morning as 64-year-old Edilberto Alvarez of Vallejo.

Alvarez was killed after his 2008 Toyota Tacoma struck the left front of a 1997 Dodge Caravan that had collided with the center divider of the freeway around 5:35 a.m., California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Hekker said.

After the collision, the Toyota stopped facing westbound in one of the two eastbound lanes of the highway, Hekker said.

Alvarez got out of his Toyota truck and was standing in front of it when he was struck by a 2004 Cadillac Escalade, the CHP said.

He was thrown 50 feet and landed on eastbound I-780, Hekker said. He was pronounced dead at 5:57 a.m., the coroner's office said.

The Cadillac then struck the Toyota and the Dodge head on, Hekker said.

Witnesses who stopped at the scene said the driver of the Cadillac, whose identity is unknown, got out of his vehicle, looked at the collision scene and at Alvarez's body and fled, the CHP said.

Benicia police were informed of the collision and set up a perimeter near Benicia State Park to try to locate the hit-and-run driver, the CHP said.

The driver is described as a Hispanic male who was wearing jeans and a black hoodie, the CHP said.

The Solano County CHP is working on leads to identify the Cadillac driver, and is asking the public for help identifying him, Hekker said. An autopsy on Alvarez was scheduled for today, the coroner's office said.

Regional: Two Bay Area Men Named As Suspects in Siskiyou County Courthouse Gold Nuggets Theft

Two East Bay residents are wanted in connection with the theft of more than $1.25 million worth of gold items stolen from the Siskiyou County Courthouse more than a year ago, the sheriff said Monday.

Gold nuggets, jewelry and other artifacts were taken from a display case at the courthouse at 311 Fourth St. in Yreka on Jan. 31, 2012, Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said.

The artifacts date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, Lopey said.

Many items, such as the "shoe" nugget of gold that resembles a foot, were donated to the county and were kept in an alarmed case, Lopey said.

Arrest warrants have been issued for David Dean Johnson, 49, of El Cerrito, and Scott Wayne Bailey, 51, of El Sobrante, who are the primary suspects in the heist, Lopey said.

Lopey said one of the suspects was expected to turn himself into the sheriff's office by the end of the day.

Last Thursday, Siskiyou County sheriff's detectives were in the Bay Area trying to locate the two men.

They were not found, but evidence was seized, Lopey said.

The stolen items have not been recovered, Lopey said. The sheriff said the Bay Area men have a connection to the Siskiyou and Shasta County areas.

On Jan. 15 of this year, deputies served search warrants at homes in Shasta County and in El Cerrito and El Sobrante, sheriff's officials said.

A $50,000 reward has been offered for information about the suspects connected with the stolen artifacts -- which Lopey said are an invaluable part of the county's history.

"They steal a piece of our history," he said. "It's not only embarrassing, but a sad event." Lopey said the sheriff's office is continuing to investigate if other suspects are involved in the heist.

Anyone with information on the theft or the suspects' whereabouts is asked to contact Siskiyou County sheriff's Detective Yves Pike at (530) 842-8354.

SF: U.S. Citizen From Guadalajara Sentenced to 12 Years For Smuggling Drugs Through SFO

A 22-year-old U.S. citizen who lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, has been sentenced in federal court to 12 years and six months in prison for attempting to smuggle cocaine and methamphetamine through San Francisco International Airport.

Pedro Daniel Rodriguez was given the sentence by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Rodriguez tried to smuggle more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine and more than four pounds of cocaine in false bottoms of three suitcases he brought through the airport on Dec. 29, 2011.

Rodriguez had arrived on a flight from Guadalajara and was bound for Sydney, Australia, Haag said.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty before White in September to six felony counts: conspiring to import, importing and possessing methamphetamine and conspiring to import, importing and possessing cocaine. Some of the charges carried a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.

Haag said Rodriguez admitted during his guilty plea that he knew the suitcases contained a significant amount of drugs and that he planned to deliver them to a person in Sydney.

Rodriguez and a companion, Yuniba Elizabeth Cordero, 23, who is also a U.S. citizen, were arrested at the airport after U.S. customs agents discovered the drugs during a search of their luggage.

According to an affidavit filed in the case by Homeland Security Investigations agent John Bartusevics on Dec. 30, 2011, inspectors became suspicious when they noticed that three of the four suitcases the pair had checked on the flight from Guadalajara were unusually heavy.

The inspectors then conducted a secondary search and discovered methamphetamine hidden under false bottoms in two of the suitcases and both methamphetamine and cocaine in the third, Bartusevics said.

In an announcement of the arrests in January 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the seized drugs were worth more than $500,000.

Four criminal charges against Cordero are pending in federal court in San Francisco, according to court records. She is accused of conspiring to import, importing, and possessing methamphetamine and conspiring to import cocaine.

SF: Woman Escapes Injury in Bayview Shooting Friday Night

A woman escaped injury when a man pulled up alongside her car and opened fire in San Francisco's Bayview District late Friday night, police said Monday.

The shooting was reported at about 10:35 p.m. near Third Street and Paul Avenue.

The 24-year-old victim was driving south on Third Street when the suspect vehicle followed her, then pulled up next to her and a man inside fired several shots at her, according to police.

The victim made a U-turn on Third Street to escape, and the other car sped away heading south.

The victim went home and called police, who located the suspect vehicle nearby in the first block of Carr Street with a 25-year-old man inside, police said.

The man, whose name was not immediately released, was arrested and a gun was found in the vehicle, according to police.

San Jose: Firefighter Returns to Work After Suffering Cardiac Arrest in August

A San Jose firefighter who suffered cardiac arrest while on the job last year returned to work Monday.

Firefighter Frank Ryan collapsed while fighting a three-alarm fire at St. Patrick Proto-Cathedral Parish in the city's downtown area on Aug. 30.

He was hospitalized at Regional Medical Center where he was in a coma until Sept. 4 and released later that month.

An informal breakfast was organized by his fellow firefighters Monday morning at Fire Station 1. "Some of us have not seen him since that when he was injured," said Battalion Chief Mary Gutierrez.

At the breakfast event Ryan talked about how firefighters perform life-saving techniques on people everyday but never think about such incidents happening to themselves, Capt. Cleo Doss said.

Ryan also recounted the events from the fire, feeling nauseous as he came out of the building and wanting to rest but passed out, Doss said.

Ryan will not return to full duty until he receives a doctor's clearance, Gutierrez said.

He is also following all his doctor's orders and has made a few lifestyle modifications, Gutierrez said.

His next shifts are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday, Doss said.

Livermore: 18-Year-Old Man Arrested for Gang-Related Shooting

An 18-year-old Livermore man has been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly shooting at four members of a rival gang in Livermore on Sunday afternoon, police said.

Roger Aleman, a maintenance worker, is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $60,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Pleasanton on Wednesday, according to court records.

Livermore police said that at about 3:05 p.m. on Sunday they received reports of a shooting in the 1600 block of Chestnut Street and responding officers got to the area quickly and detained several males.

Police said that after they interviewed the males and other witnesses they determined that four Norteno gang members had confronted two or three members of the rival Sureno gang in front of a residence in the 1600 block of Chestnut Street.

Police said one of the Sureno gang members had a handgun and fired two or three shots at the four Norteno members but no one was struck by the gunfire and all of the males who were involved in the incident began to flee.

Officers were able to locate the four victims as well as Aleman, police said. The 1600 block of Chestnut Street was temporarily closed to traffic while officers searched the surrounding area for evidence and outstanding suspects, police said.

Santa Clara Co.: County Seeking Mixed-Use Development Ideas For 55-Acre Civic Center Campus

Santa Clara County is looking for a few good ideas to shape the future of its expansive but staid 55-acre civic center in uptown San Jose.

After assembling parcels including its core buildings, the former San Jose City Hall and a closed army reserve base, the county is poised to accept development proposals for what officials call a "civic center campus."

"It's kind of like opening up the county to ideas," said David Barry, a county capital projects manager working on the plan.

"The county has these lands but it doesn't have the resources to develop them, so that's why it's seeking development partners," Barry said.

To get public input on how to transform its civic center, the county plans a community meeting today at the Board of Supervisors chambers at 70 W. Hedding St. in San Jose.

On April 8, the county will send out a Request of Qualifications to review suggestions from potential private partners and later ask qualified applicants to submit proposed master plans.

The county wants a long-term plan with the best possible uses for what it has, generating revenue through land leases or sales and consolidating county services with private uses such as housing and retail, Barry said.

"The county is open to any proposals," Barry said. "The private sector has a lot of creative ideas and can help the county to decide what the possibilities are for the land."

Officials would look favorably on a private partner with a vision of a "campus concept" for developing new or established Silicon Valley industries in an urban setting, Barry said.

What's in play for possible development in the 55-acre civic center are about 35 acres, including the 10.3-acre county employee parking lot on Hedding between North First and San Pedro streets.

Also available are some of the 16.3 acres housing the East and West Wings of the County Government Center, the county's 11-floor main office building on Hedding.

Then there's the vacant old San Jose City Hall, built in 1958, sitting on 10 acres that includes two aging, drab county buildings.

Also on the mix is the Pvt. George L. Richey U.S. Army Reserve Center, an 8.6-acre former military base at San Pedro and Hedding that the U.S. government closed and quitclaimed this month to the county.

At least one developer, Brett Shaves, founding partner of Urban Village Development Co., a Los Angeles-based investor and builder of mixed-use housing and retail, said he finds the county's development plans "exciting."

Shaves' company targets Generation Y, customers aged about 25 to 34, for "live work play" urban projects where people own or rent near work, shops, entertainment spots and public transit to minimize commuting.

To be attractive and profitable for his company to develop the civic center, "rents and rental growth would have to be there," Shaves said.

"As we look at a market, we want to see the gentrification," he said. "We want to understand the younger generation."

Bay Area Tuesday Morning Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies with patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning, becoming partly cloudy later today.

Highs are expected to be in the lower to mid 60s. Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening, with patchy fog expected after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the upper 40s.

Partly cloudy skies, with patchy fog, are likely Wednesday morning. Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s.

 

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