Thursday Morning News Roundup
Intense Standoff Between Police Officer, Armed Teen Ends Peacefully In Arrest
A brief standoff Wednesday between a Salinas police officer and an armed teenage suspect ended peacefully when the teen put the revolver on the ground and was arrested, police said.
At 6:41 a.m., Salinas police responded to a report from a witness who said a male was pointing a gun and might shoot another male at an apartment complex in the 400 block of California Street, according to police Cmdr. Sheldon Bryan.
An officer who responded saw a male, later identified as 18-year-old Alexander Chavero, coming from the carport of the complex, police said.
The officer challenged the suspect, who then turned and faced the officer while holding a chrome, .357-caliber revolver, Bryan said.
The officer demanded Chavero to drop the gun several times and the suspect did not comply at first, police said.
After a tense standoff, Chavero placed the revolver on the ground immediately next to him and lay down within reach of the gun, according to Bryan.
Other officers made it to the scene and detained Chavero, police said.
A 24-year-old male victim told police that the suspect approached him, tried to rob his car keys at gunpoint and threatened to shoot him, but the victim was able to run away, Bryan said.
Chavero was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm and attempted carjacking, police reported.
The serial number on the revolver confiscated from Chavero had been obliterated, police said.
24-Year-Old Man Stuck On Seal Rocks Rescued Tonight
A 24-year-old man was rescued from Seal Rocks off of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach Wednesday night after he became stuck while surfing in the water, a U.S. Coast Guard official said.
The Coast Guard responded to a report of a surfer in distress around 7:45 p.m., Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Shawn Lansing said.
The man’s friends reported he was missing after last seeing him shortly after 7 p.m. when they were surfing, Lansing said.
The Coast Guard sent an aircraft and two boats to search for the surfer, according to Lansing.
One of the boats saw the man standing on Seal Rocks with his surfboard. He was able to paddle to the boat crew and was transported to the Coast Guard Station Golden Gate at Fort Baker in Sausalito where emergency crews evaluated him, Lansing said.
Lansing did know if the man was injured. Coast Guard officials are warning the public to exercise caution in the water or when approaching the beach due to high surf conditions making the water “very dynamic,” Lansing said.
Fire Crews Investigating Possible Hazardous Materials Incident, 2 Buildings Evacuated
Two people were found dead in a Mountain View apartment complex where a strong gas odor led to evacuations and a shelter in place advisory in the area on Wednesday evening, a police spokeswoman said.
Officers responded to a report of a strong gas odor coming from an apartment complex at 2025 California St. shortly after 6 p.m., police spokeswoman Shino Tanaka said.
Arriving officers went to the scene, smelled the strong odor and called for residents at 2025 and 2017 California St. to evacuate, Tanaka said.
Four officers who were exposed to the gas were treated by medics at the scene and released, according to Tanaka.
Evacuees are advised to go to the community center at 201 S. Rengstorff Ave. where to seek assistance from the American Red Cross, police said.
Residents at 2035 California St. were told to shelter in place, Tanaka said.
Firefighters vented apartment buildings in the area and PG&E was called to turn off gas service, she said.
Fire crews found the gas was coming from a unit at 2025 California St. and waited until gas service was turned off to enter, according to Tanaka.
Once the gas dissipated and the scene was deemed safe to enter, fire crews went inside the unit to find two deceased victims, she said.
An investigation is ongoing and no further details were released Wednesday night.
Residents at 2025 and 2017 California St. were not allowed back in their homes Wednesday night. Fire crews estimate they may be allowed back in around 2:30 a.m. today, Tanaka said.
Tanaka said there were about 30 to 40 residents at the community center on Rengstorff Avenue on Wednesday night.
Mother Of Special-Needs Boy Files Suit Alleging Mistreatment By School Staff
A mother of a special-needs boy has filed a federal lawsuit against his former school in Antioch accusing school staff of inappropriately restraining him on multiple occasions and giving him a bloody nose, bruises and causing him to wet his pants.
AdriAnne Pantell of Antioch filed a lawsuit against Tobinworld II, a school for special-needs students aged 4 to 22, for the alleged physical and emotional abuse of her then-8-year-old son while he briefly attended the school in 2013. Also named in the suit are the Antioch Unified School District, the district school board, district Superintendent Donald Gill, several special education administrators for the district and half a dozen Tobinworld staff members.
A U.S. District Court judge in Oakland on Wednesday approved the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claim for a third time, according to attorney Tim Davis, who is representing the defendants.
Pantell will have about a month to return to federal court with another amended claim, he said.
Davis said the allegations against Tobinworld, school staff and the district are “not provable, but more importantly, not true.” The attorney declined to comment further on the allegations but said he is confident the case will be defeated.
But according to the lawsuit, Pantell’s son was violently restrained and forced to go without food or use of the restroom on two separate dates during his brief attendance at Tobinworld from January to February 2013.
On Jan. 28, 2013, the 8-year-old said he wasn’t hungry during Tobinworld’s scheduled breakfast time, but school staff refused his request for a snack about an hour later and told him to wait until lunchtime, according to the lawsuit.
Staff members made the decision even though they should have known, based on his medical and psychiatric history, that keeping his food intake and blood sugar levels stable is needed to prevent the boy from engaging in disruptive behavior, according to the complaint.
The same day, the lawsuit alleges, five staff members responded when the boy acted out by restraining him “first in an upright position, then violently kicking his feet from underneath him, causing him to fall to the floor and sustain a bloody nose.”
Staff members again held down the boy, who at the time weighed about 70 pounds, by sitting on him and forcing him to stretch out his arms.
School personnel set a timer and threatened to reset it and continue restraining him if the boy made any noise, the suit alleges.
Throughout that day, the boy was restrained at least four more times and was denied food and access to the bathroom, causing him to wet his pants, according to the complaint. The complaint states that he also suffered serious bruises due to the repeated restraints.
Several days later, three staff members again held down Pantell’s son by kicking his legs out from underneath him and sitting on top of him, according to the suit.
The complaint alleges that Pantell learned about the improper restraints in January and alerted school officials as well as the district board and superintendent, none of whom intervened on her son’s behalf.
The suit seeks unspecified damages for alleged violation of 14th Amendment laws, which protect the victim’s rights to attend school without being abused, and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A representative from Tobinworld could not be reached for comment on the suit Wednesday.
Jury Deliberating At Fiery Crash Death Murder Trial
Jurors will begin deliberating today at the Heather Howell murder trial in Sonoma County Superior Court.
Howell, 30, of Santa Rosa, is being tried again for the second-degree murder of 56-year-old Jesse Garcia, of Santa Rosa, who died when Howell lost control of her Acura and crashed into the rear of Garcia’s 1969 Triumph convertible west of Santa Rosa two years ago.
The Triumph overturned and caught fire, trapping Garcia underneath.
A jury deadlocked by a 9-3 vote on the murder charge at Howell’s first trial in September 2013, but convicted her of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and reckless driving. She faces 10 years in prison on those two charges.
Judge Robert La Forge informed the jury during instructions Wednesday that Howell has been convicted of two felony charges in connection with the crash, but he did not disclose the specific charges.
In her closing argument Wednesday afternoon, Deputy District Attorney Anne Masterson told the jury Howell is guilty of second-degree murder. Howell’s attorney Kristine Burk told the panel Howell’s negligent and criminal driving amounted only to involuntary manslaughter.
Masterson said Howell acted without conscious regard for human life as she drove through red lights in pursuit of her boyfriend Tony Kraus’ motorcycle after an argument on July 14, 2012.
Howell drove as fast as 76 mph in her Acura for 5.3 miles on Piner, Fulton and Hall roads west of Santa Rosa, Masterson said.
She said Howell was intoxicated and had used marijuana and cocaine that day.
Howell was previously convicted of misdemeanor DUI and had been informed by a judge that she would face a murder charge if she killed someone while again driving intoxicated, Masterson said.
Burk said the prosecution has proved Howell guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but not murder. She said Howell felt abandoned after Kraus left her that day because she wanted him to go back to a hospital to be with her ill mother.
She said Howell was hysterical at the crash scene, stuck her arm into the burning Triumph to try to reach Garcia and asked a firefighter for help.
Howell’s conduct was reckless, dangerous and criminally negligent but not a conscious disregard for human life, Burk said.
Court Workers Cast Their Votes On Whether To Strike Over Stalled Contract Negotiations
Dozens of San Francisco court workers rallied outside the city’s Civic Center Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon to cast their votes on whether to strike amid what they say is “bad faith bargaining” with court management over their contracts.
Service Employees International Union Local 1021 members took their lunch hours Wednesday to march on the sidewalk outside the courthouse adjacent to City Hall holding signs with slogans that read, “Will Strike For Justice” and “Bad Faith Bargaining.”
SEIU 1021 organizer Steve Stallone said court workers began casting their votes Wednesday on whether to strike and will continue to be able to cast their votes until Monday.
Stallone attended Wednesday afternoon’s latest union bargaining committee meeting with court management following Wednesday’s rally and said as he expected nothing had changed.
Wednesday’s rally directly targeted Michael Yuen, court executive officer for the San Francisco Superior Court.
Yuen is responsible for managing about 550 employees, oversees a $95 million budget and implements policies and procedures at the court, according to the Superior Court website.
Stallone said the court workers are asking for 3 to 3.5 percent wage increases, but that court management has offered no proposed wage increases in response.
He said that the courts have $16 million in reserves but that court management is refusing to place it in the hands of workers.
The vote over striking is a last resort that the union turned to only after months of “futile” talks, Stallone said.
If the court workers go on strike, San Francisco’s entire justice system would be shut down, a scene that played out in a 2012 strike during the court workers’ previous contract negotiations.
Among the supporters standing in solidarity with the court workers and members of SEIU 1021 Wednesday were San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar and San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
Mirkarimi, who is running for re-election in 2015, said he knows “how hard the people work” and said he stands with them in their struggle for fair wages.
Supervisor Mar said that while he hopes the courts aren’t shut down due to a strike, he said he understands that the court workers deserve fair treatment.
He said if the union calls a strike and court workers don’t show up for work, many people in San Francisco won’t have access to justice.
He said he hopes a middle ground can be found before that happens.
A tally of the votes is expected on Monday evening, Stallone said.
Firefighters Responded To Three Reports Of Rescues On Ocean Beach
Firefighters at Ocean Beach rescued two surfers Wednesday and responded to two other reports of swimmers in the water that were later unfounded.
The first rescue was reported near Stairwell 20 and Beach Chalet Restaurant around 3:45 p.m., a fire dispatcher said.
Fire crews were able to remove two men who had been surfing out of the water, according to the dispatcher.
Both men suffered critical injuries, the dispatcher said. One was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center and the other was taken to the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, according to the dispatcher.
A second rescue was reported for a surfer by the beach near the Cliff House around 4:55 p.m., the dispatcher said.
When crews arrived to the scene the three swimmers who were reported to be in distress were in the parking lot and unscathed, Paramedic Capt. Sebastian Wong said.
A third rescue was reported on the beach at about 6 p.m. when a witness said there was a surfer in distress, Wong said.
The Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard sent a boat to the surfer who they later learned was not in distress, according to Wong.
Judge Rules Martins Beach Owner Must Obtain Permit To Close Beach
A San Mateo County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that a Silicon Valley entrepreneur can’t close off a popular beach near Half Moon Bay without obtaining a permit and must reopen the beach for the time being.
Judge Barbara Mallach said property owner Vinod Khosla’s effort to limit public access to Martins Beach was a form of coastal development, or change, as defined by the California Coastal Act of 1976 and later court decisions.
Therefore, Mallach said, two companies created by Khosla to manage his coastal property must obtain a development permit from the California Coastal Commission before changing public access to the beach.
“Development includes any activity which changes the intensity of use of land or water or the public’s access to the coast,” Mallach wrote in a 16-page proposed decision.
She ordered Khosla’s companies “to cease preventing the public from accessing and using the water, beach and coast at Martins Beach” until their permit application is resolved.
Mallach issued the ruling in a lawsuit filed by the San Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving beaches, oceans and public access to beaches.
The decision is a tentative ruling. Both sides have 15 days to submit comments and request changes before the decision becomes final.
Eric Buescher, a lawyer for the foundation, said he expects the decision will remain the same in substance but might be modified in minor details.
The foundation’s attorneys said surfers, including former foundation president Rob Caughlan, plan to head to the beach to resume surfing beginning at 9 a.m. today.
Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems who is now a venture capitalist, bought the 53-acre property in 2008 for $37.5 million from the Deeeney family, who had previously allowed public access to the beach in the daytime for much of the year in exchange for a parking fee.
The beach, about 5 miles south of Half Moon Bay, was popular with both surfers and other members of the public.
Khosla continued to permit public access for about two years, but in 2010 permanently closed a gate on the only road that leads to the beach from state Highway 1 and hired security guards to keep people off the property.
He argued he had a right to exclude the public from private property and that a change in public access did not meet the definition of development.
But Mallach wrote that development “does not require any physical change or alteration to land” and that it can consist of either an increase or a decrease in the use of coastal land.
She declined, however, to order a penalty or fine, saying that Khosla had acted in good faith.
Mallach noted that the Coastal Act emphasizes both public access and protection of property rights and wrote that she could not predict whether the Coastal Commission will grant a permit to restrict access.
City Attorney Files Suit Over Alleged Unsafe Living Conditions
The Oakland City Attorney’s Office has filed suit against the owners of a large East Oakland apartment complex, alleging that they’ve failed to provide safe and humane living condition for tenants.
As an example of how unsafe the Hillside Apartments complex allegedly is, the City Attorney said 18-year-old Alex Breggs of Oakland was fatally shot in the 8700 block of Hillside Street directly in front of the complex just after 7 p.m. Saturday.
Citing information from Oakland police, the city said in its suit, which was recently filed in Alameda County Superior Court, that one of the other people who was in a car with Breggs was a resident of the complex and that at least one bullet missed its intended victim and struck one of the buildings in the complex.
The city says the complex contains nearly 100 rental units in two buildings near Castlemont High School and alleges that it has become “a base of operations of a violent gang known for robberies, drug sales, shootings and other crimes in East Oakland.”
The lawsuit alleges that Hillside’s Walnut Creek-based owners, Grant Alvernaz and Douglas Moore, along with Parawest Community Development, the property manager and company they hired to manage the complex, have allowed the property to become “a major public nuisance through negligence and a failure to maintain basic standards of habitability and security.”
The City Attorney’s Office said safety and blight problems have plagued the Hillside Apartments for years and when the current owners bought the property in August 2010 they entered into a settlement agreement with the city that required them to hire security guards, evict problem tenants, maintain humane living conditions and generally keep the property safe and clean.
The city said at first the owners met their obligations under the agreement, but by 2011 they allowed security and maintenance to collapse, leaving the property in a blighted nuisance state.
The city alleges that, “Hillside is notorious for criminal and nuisance activity” and says robbery suspects flee into the complex, gang members openly carry firearms and intimidate tenants on the property and at least one shooting has occurred on or near the complex at least once a month in recent months.
The city’s suit charges the owners of Hillside Apartments with breaching their 2010 agreement with the city and contributing to a situation that is dangerous to tenants and a public nuisance to the neighborhood.
Alvernaz, Moore and officials at Parawest Community Development, which has offices in San Jose, Phoenix and Houston, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
Undercover Police Officers Arrest Third Suspect In Murder Of 19-Year-Old Latrell Shaw
San Francisco police have arrested a third suspect in connection with the homicide of a 19-year-old man who was killed in a shooting earlier this month at a neighborhood barbecue in the city’s Bayview District, a police spokesman said Wednesday.
Undercover officers arrested 19-year-old Maselusi Falesoga on Monday for the murder of Latrell Shaw, San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.
Falesoga was arrested on a homicide warrant and booked into jail on one count of murder, Esparza said.
Police previously arrested two suspects in connection with the shooting that killed Shaw and injured another man just after midnight on Sept. 5 in the first block of Nichols Way near Candlestick Park, police said.
Fotu Paopao Jr., 19, and an unidentified juvenile suspect were arrested in connection with the murder.
Paopao was booked into jail on suspicion of murder and the juvenile suspect was booked into the city’s Juvenile Justice Center.
After the shooting, Shaw was taken to San Francisco General Hospital but died from his injuries, according to police.
A 27-year-old man was shot in his lower body at the same time and arrived at the hospital on his own. His injuries were not life-threatening, police said.
Anyone with information on the homicide is asked to contact San Francisco Police anonymously at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with “SFPD” at the start of the message.
Two People Injured In Plane Crash At Different Hospitals
Two passengers who were aboard a single-engine, two-seat propeller plane that crashed in the 27000 block of Ramal Road near Sonoma on Wednesday afternoon were taken to two separate hospitals, Schell-Vista Fire Protection District Chief Ray Mulas said.
A male passenger was flown airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and a female was taken by ambulance to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Mulas said.
The plane did not catch fire, and power lines that were knocked down in the crash did not did not cause a fire, Mulas said.
The plane went into a drainage area 70 feet north of Ramal Road and 100 yards short of Skaggs Island Road, Mulas said.
A Federal Aviation Administration official said the two-seat Kitfox plane struck power lines and crashed into a vineyard about six miles southeast of Sonoma Skypark airport at 2:17 p.m.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol sent helicopters to the crash site, Mulas said.
VTA To Test Announcing Train Arrival Time Predictions
The Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority began testing a new system to announce predicted train arrival times on Wednesday.
Speakers and electronic signs on some light-rail platforms will broadcast predicted arrival times, but VTA officials warn that the predictions may not be accurate so travelers shouldn’t yet use them to plan their trips.
The announcements will be tested daily between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at different locations. The VTA will be making adjustments based on the accuracy of the predictions and how helpful they prove to be to customers.
Tax Dispute Could Threaten Transbay Terminal Project
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to levy a tax on developers who are now threatening a lawsuit over a project to build up the area surrounding the Transbay Terminal in the city’s South of Market neighborhood.
The board authorized the establishment of the Transbay Transit Community Benefits District, based on 2014 assessed property values, to help fund the under-construction Transbay Transit Center project, which includes an underground Caltrain extension from Fourth and King streets and creation of a station for the state’s future high-speed rail.
According to the San Francisco Planning Department, the Transbay Transit Center project depends on taxes from the increased value of the area to generate funds for its construction of the transit infrastructure.
The regional transit center will replace the former Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets and is expected to cost about $4.5 billion, according to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority’s website.
In 2006, about two years before construction on the project began, a Mayor’s Interagency Working Group decided to raise certain height limits for projects in the area, thereby increasing development potential.
The developers have previously agreed to participate in the community benefits district, said Adam Alberti, a spokesman for the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which is overseeing the project.
However, the higher value of the properties is now causing the developers in the area to object to the higher proposed taxes and they are threatening a lawsuit.
Alberti said the law that authorizes the establishment of the district, known as a Mello-Roos special tax, is designed to obtain community funding for public services such as transit infrastructure.
Developers, property owners and public utilities that own the land that makes up the area surrounding the transit center must vote by Dec. 29 on whether or not to accept the terms of the Transbay Transit Community Benefits District, Alberti said.
Some of the developers who will vote on the tax are Hines, Boston Properties, Kilroy Realty Corp., and Jay Paul Co., among others.
Alberti said the increased height zoning of the new developments, in addition to an improvement in the economy and tech companies racing for property, has a lot to do with why the tax burden is so much larger than originally estimated when the developers first signed on.
If the developers vote down the Transbay Transit Community Benefits District, the board could decide not to issue certificates of occupancy or future permits, Alberti said.
The Board of Supervisors pushed ahead with the tax Tuesday because the developers had already signed on to pay it, according to Alberti.
He said no lawsuits on behalf of the developers have been filed so far.
Pedestrian Hit By Car Tuesday Dies This Afternoon
A pedestrian hit by a car in Hayward Tuesday evening died in a hospital Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The pedestrian, a 32-year-old Hayward woman, was hit by a car while crossing Harder Road at the intersection with Franklin Avenue just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, police said.
The woman was rushed to Eden Medical Center but died at about 12:50 p.m. Wednesday, police said.
The driver is a 34-year-old Hayward woman who remained at the collision scene and cooperated with the investigation, police said.
The exact cause of the collision remains under investigation but police do not suspect that either woman was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Police Release Names Of Father, Son Fatally Shot Tuesday
San Jose police on Wednesday released the identities of a father and son who were fatally shot Tuesday night inside a residence in South San Jose.
The victims were 29-year-old Bryan Lang and his father 61-year-old
Keith Lang, who were both shot to death in the residence in the 100 block of
Rancho Drive, police Sgt. Heather Randol said.
An injured woman also located in the residence was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening and not the result of gunshots, Randol said.
Police were dispatched to the residence at 8:56 p.m. Tuesday on a report of a male shot there, according to Randol.
The motive and other aspects of the shootings are under investigation, Randol said.
The slayings are the city’s 27th and 28th homicides this year, she said.
Garage Fire In Outer Mission Injures Firefighter, Displaces 4 Residents
A garage fire at a two-story house in San Francisco’s Outer Mission neighborhood Wednesday afternoon displaced four people and left a firefighter injured, a fire department spokeswoman said.
The blaze was reported at 12:48 p.m. in a garage connected to a single-family home in the 300 block of Mt. Vernon Avenue, about three blocks away from the Balboa Park BART station, San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
Although firefighters managed to contain the blaze to the garage and extinguished it within a half-hour, the fire caused two adults and two children to be displaced, according to Talmadge.
A firefighter was transported to a hospital with a laceration. The severity of his injury has not yet been released.
No other injuries were reported, Talmadge said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Budget Cuts Prompt Courts To Reduce Clerk’s Office Hours
Santa Clara County Superior Court, citing budget cuts, plans to reduce business hours at its courthouses in San Jose, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Morgan Hill by at least an hour per day, court officials said Wednesday.
As of Nov. 24, daily office and telephone hours for court clerk’s offices on regular weekdays will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to court spokesman Joe Macaluso.
That will mean that people who have to file cases or request copies of court documents will have to be in line by 3 p.m. at the latest to be served that day, Macaluso said.
Business hours for most of the county’s 11 courts are currently from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., except the Old Courthouse at 161 N. First St. in downtown San Jose that is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to the court’s website.
The court made the decision to trim its hours because of budget cuts to the state court system, which has suffered reductions since 2009 that have impacted individual superior courts, Macaluso said.
The county’s courts are operating with an $8 million deficit and to avoid layoffs, the court has about a 30 percent staff vacancy rate from not filling jobs after people leave, Macaluso said.
The extra hour or two from the cutback will give the reduced staff more time to process court documents behind the scenes, he said.
“We definitely don’t want to do this, but an $8 million budget deficit is a tremendous burden,” Macaluso said.
“We’re simply trying not to have a backlog of work,” he said.
Employees of clerk’s offices will still work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shifts and the new hours will not apply to court case hearings or trials, he said.
On Aug. 5, the court announced that because of the same budget constraints, as of Oct. 6, civil, small claims and traffic courts in Morgan Hill and Palo Alto would be closed and the cases transferred.
Civil and small claims cases from Morgan Hill will be sent to the Downtown Courthouse at 191 N. First St. in San Jose and traffic cases to the Santa Clara Courthouse at 1095 Homestead Road in Santa Clara, according to court officials.
Small claims cases from Palo Alto will be heard in the Downtown Courthouse and traffic cases at the Santa Clara Courthouse, court officials said.
Bicyclist Hit By Car Suffers Serious Head Injury
A bicyclist suffered a serious head injury when he was hit by a Honda merging into a bicycle lane in Fremont on Wednesday morning, police said.
The collision on westbound Stevenson Boulevard near Interstate Highway 880 was reported at 6:25 a.m., police Officer Geneva Bosques said.
The bicyclist, a 27-year-old Oakland man, was heading west approaching the on-ramp to Highway 880 when the driver of a Honda CR-V merged into the bike lane and struck the bicyclist, Bosques said.
The collision knocked the biker onto the hood of the Honda, causing major front-end damage to the car and shattering its windshield.
The bicyclist was not wearing a helmet and suffered a visible head injury. He was taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, Bosques said.
The driver of the Honda was not injured.
It was still dark when the collision happened and the bicyclist was not riding with lights, Bosques said. Police are still investigating the case and have not determined what caused the collision.
Leaking Tank Of Potentially Explosive Gas Contained Safely
A leaking container of potentially explosive gas was contained safely after prompting the evacuation of a Newark gas company Wednesday morning, a fire battalion chief said.
The fire department’s hazardous materials team responded at 7:13 a.m. to the Matheson Tri-Gas facility at 6775 Central Ave., Alameda County fire Battalion Chief Stephanie Radecke said.
An alarm indicated a 5-foot gas cylinder containing diborane was leaking and there was condensation on the tank and other evidence it was leaking, Radecke said.
The building was evacuated and the tank was contained inside so there was no threat to the environment, Radecke said. The hazmat team then entered the building Wednesday morning to move the tank to a secure containment area.
After determining the gas had been properly contained and stabilized, Matheson employees were allowed to reenter the building and resume work, Radecke said.
Streets were shut down in the area as firefighters responded. No injuries were reported in the incident.
Two Men Plead To Manslaughter For Berkeley Homicide Last Year
Two men pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter on Wednesday for the fatal shooting of a 34-year-old man in broad daylight in Berkeley in February 2013.
Maurice Thomas, 23, and Jevon Calland, 22, who are cousins, were scheduled to stand trial this week on murder charges for the fatal shooting of Zontee Jones in the 1000 block of Delaware Street between 10th Street and San Pablo Avenue shortly after 11 a.m. on Feb. 4, 2013.
However, they entered their pleas to the lesser charge of manslaughter before the trial began.
Prosecutor Glenn Kim said police believe Thomas fired the shots that killed Jones so he faces 21 years in state prison, while Calland faces a lesser term of 16 years. Both men are scheduled to be formally sentenced on Jan. 5.
Several of Calland’s family members didn’t want him to accept the plea bargain and were emotional when he entered his no contest plea Wednesday.
Berkeley police Officer Jesse Grant wrote in a probable cause statement that Calland had a motive to harm Jones and had threatened him in front of witnesses the day before Jones was shot to death.
Grant alleged that Thomas was the person who actually shot and killed Jones.
Referring to the alleged plan to harm Jones, Grant said, “Calland summoned one of the other persons to the scene of the murder with a firearm.”
He said, “Calland engaged the victim (Jones) in a physical confrontation and the other persons assisted him.”
Calland’s lawyer Ted Johnson said that although Calland’s family didn’t want him to accept the plea deal, “It was his (Calland’s) case and he had to make the decision for himself.”
Johnson said he thinks there are “holes” in the prosecution’s case against Calland and Thomas but he still thinks the agreement was an acceptable outcome.
Castillo said even though Thomas and Calland are cousins, there were tensions between their families because the two defendants had different defense strategies.
After Calland entered his plea, he said, “To my family, I want to say that we should stick together.”
Johnson told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing, who accepted the pleas, that Calland’s message is “to stop the fighting and the antagonizing of each other and keep the family unity going.”
It was Thomas’ 23rd birthday Wednesday.