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Bay Area News Roundup

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A roundup of Bay Area stories making news today.

Officer injured in crash after pursuit

A police officer is in the hospital this morning after being injured in a crash in San Francisco's Richmond district involving a car driven by armed robbery suspects, a police spokeswoman said.

Officers responded around 6:45 a.m. to a report of a robbery in the 3400 block of Balboa Street in which a suspect apparently fired a gunshot, San Francisco police Officer Danielle Newman said.

An officer in a patrol car spotted the suspects' car at the intersection of Cabrillo Street and 28th Avenue about 10 minutes later and gave chase.

The pursuit ended a short time later when the two cars collided at Lincoln Way and 20th Avenue, Newman said.

Both occupants in the suspect vehicle were arrested.

The officer involved suffered injuries that are not considered life-threatening and was taken to a hospital, the spokeswoman said.

At least one of the suspects was also expected to be transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, she said.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether the crash was an assault on the officer.


Woman accused of throwing fireworks at AT&T Park

A San Bruno resident who allegedly threw fireworks from the bleachers at a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park Wednesday night was arraigned Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, according to prosecutors.

Paola Alessio Pavone, 21, pleaded not guilty to charge of felony possession of a destructive device in a public place, one charge of felony possession of combustible material and one misdemeanor charge of discharging dangerous fireworks, according to Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges and is scheduled to return to court on April 25 to set a preliminary hearing date.

Pavone was arrested Wednesday after fireworks were thrown into the Coors Light bar area behind the bleacher around 9:30 p.m., during a period between innings, according to police.

Officers at the game heard a loud explosion and saw smoke coming from the area, police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said.

Multiple people reported pain, dizziness and temporary loss of hearing, but no one was seriously injured in the explosion, Shyy said. All of the victims were treated at the stadium.

Pavone was arrested after police learned a suspect was seen standing up in Section 142 of the bleachers and throwing something back toward the bar area, Shyy said.

The incident did not delay the game, and the Giants went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1.


Piedmont landslide

A small landslide knocked over trees and damaged a power line in Piedmont Friday, forcing the closure of Moraga Avenue and triggering a power outage.

The landslide from a private property on to Moraga Avenue and the resulting power line problems near Maxwelton Road caused the closure of a half-mile stretch of Moraga around 11 a.m. Friday, according to City Clerk John Tulloch.

The city worked with PG&E and a tree contractor to clear the lines and restore power, and city and contractor crews removed loose soil from the hillside and cleared the roadway, Tulloch said. The road reopened around 7:45 p.m.

PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said the fallen trees caused a power outage in the area that started at 11:14 a.m. and affected 482 customers at its peak.

No one was injured by the landslide and no houses were threatened, according to Piedmont police.

A police spokesman said the mudslide was "a much smaller situation" than a mudslide in the same general area two years ago, in April 2012, than forced Moraga Avenue to be closed for 35 hours.

Although it's in the same area, the mudslide occurred on a different property than the mudslide two years ago, Tulloch said.

The city will work with the property owner to stabilize the hillside, Tulloch said.

Tulloch said the landslide was not caused by water or sewer lines in the area. If the property owner is found to be responsible, the city will seek to recover the costs of the cleanup.


Car drives into bus shelter

Two people were critically injured Friday night when a car drove into a bus shelter at Mission and Silver streets, according to San Francisco police.

A vehicle struck a bus shelter at the intersection shortly after 9:30 p.m., hitting both a pedestrian and a pole, according to Sgt. Danielle Newman.

The pedestrian and the driver of the vehicle both received life-threatening injuries, Newman said.

The cause of the collision remains under investigation.


Second-degree murder conviction

A Seaside resident was convicted Friday of second-degree murder in the death of his 8-year-old son, according to Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo.

Zabdiel Solis Arciga, 36, drove away from his girlfriend's house with his son in the front passenger seat of his car around 1 a.m.on July 27, 2010 after an argument, according to prosecutors.

Arciga had been drinking and smoking marijuana, and a police officer saw him make an illegal lane change within minutes of his departure, prosecutors said.

When the officer moved to make a traffic stop, however, Arciga sped away and led police on a five-mile chase at speeds of up to 120 mph on state Highway 1 before losing control and crashing at the Fremont Street exit in Seaside, prosecutors said.

Arciga's blood alcohol level was between .12 and .16, and both marijuana and methamphetamines were found in his system, prosecutors said. He had one previous DUI conviction from 2005.

Arciga will be sentenced on May 21, and is expected to receive a sentence of 15 years to life, prosecutors said.


Murder charges

Two former Marina residents were arrested in Tacoma, Wash., this week in connection with the death of their 19-month old son, who died around six months ago, Marina police said Friday.

Brandon Kenney, 33, and his wife Christina Kenney, 31, were arrested Tuesday at their home in Tacoma after what police called an extensive investigation.

The couple moved to Tacoma shortly after their son's death.

Brandon and Christina await extradition proceedings and are expected to stand trial on a charge of felony child abuse. Other charges could be filed after a review by the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.


Possible sexual misconduct at school

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has decided not to file criminal charges against a former Concord elementary school principal accused of failing to contact police after receiving reports of possible sexual misconduct by teacher Joseph Martin.

Former Woodside Elementary School principal Jennifer Sachs will not face criminal charges for her handling of Martin's alleged abuse of multiple students in 2006. District officials conducted an internal investigation into the allegations in 2006 but never reported the suspected abuse to authorities, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Nancy Georgiou.

Martin was arrested last June and has since been charged with 150 felony counts stemming from the alleged molestation of 14 current and former students, according to the district attorney's office.

He remains in county jail in Martinez and is awaiting trial, which is set for May 27.

According to a Concord police report, Sachs oversaw Martin in 2006 and received multiple complaints from other teachers about his alleged inappropriate conduct toward students but failed to report the allegations to police or Child Protective Services.

But prosecutors said in a statement that the statute of limitations for failure to report is one year, making Sachs ineligible for prosecution.

In addition, according to a statement from the district attorney's office, there is "insufficient evidence to prove Ms. Sachs intentionally knew, or harbored reasonable suspicion, of abuse by Mr. Martin of his students in 2006."


Woman found dead in Fairfield

Fairfield police have identified a woman who was found dead in the Putah South Canal earlier this month as 41-year-old Delicia Wilkerson-Smith of Fairfield.

Her death is considered suspicious and undetermined in nature and police are still waiting for an autopsy report, Fairfield police Lt. Stephen Crane said Friday.

Crane said he did not recall any police contact with Wilkerson-Smith in the past.

Wilkerson-Smith's body was found around 8 a.m. on April 10 in the canal in the 3200 block of North Texas Street in Fairfield.

The FBI joined the death investigation because the area of the 33-mile long canal where the body was found is located on federal government property.

The canal channels water for irrigation, municipal and industrial use to Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun, Vallejo and Travis Air Force Base.


Woman dies after collapsing at Coachella

An Oakland woman died days after collapsing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, authorities said Friday.

Kimchi Truong, 24, collapsed while attending the music festival in Indio, Calif. last Sunday, according to a report by the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's Bureau.

She was taken to JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio and transferred to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where she died on Thursday, according to the report.

An autopsy and toxicology test are being performed to determine Truong's cause of death and results may not be released for another six weeks, according to the coroner's bureau.

The two-weekend music festival is continuing today and on Sunday.


Car crashes into candy store

A car plowed into a crowded candy store in Pleasant Hill Friday afternoon but did not cause any serious injuries, a police sergeant said.

Around 3:15 p.m., two cars at the intersection of Contra Costa Boulevard and Alan Drive collided, sending one car up the walkway and into the front of the store located at 1005 Contra Costa Blvd., Sgt. Scott Vermillion said.

Approximately 30 customers and workers inside the store were unharmed except for a few complaints of pain, the sergeant said.

Vermillion said it was "very lucky" that no one was injured inside the store crowded with shoppers stocking up for the Easter holiday.

He said he did not know when the store would reopen since it sustained major damage to its front entryway.

A preliminary investigation showed that neither drugs, alcohol or speed appear to have been factors in the crash, the sergeant said.


"Shrimp Boy" case

An Oakland woman described by prosecutors as a "close associate" of Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow was granted release on $250,000 bail together with her husband in federal court in San Francisco Friday while they await trial on two criminal charges.

Leslie Yun, 42, and James Pau, 55, are among 29 defendants charged in a wide-ranging corruption and organized-crime indictment issued by a federal grand jury on April 3.

Chow, the leader of the Chinatown-based Chee Kung Tong association, and suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, are also named in the indictment.

Yun and Pau are each accused of one count of laundering $33,000 for an undercover FBI agent posing as a Mafia member and one count of conspiring with Chow and others to traffic in stolen cigarettes.

They were arrested in New York City on March 25 and have been in custody since then. They were each granted release on $250,000 bonds by U.S. Magistrate Nandor Vadas over the objections of Assistant U.S. Attorney William Frentzen, who sought to have them held without bail.

Frentzen said Yun has been described as the bookkeeper for the Chee Kung Tong and as "the person in charge of finances, described by some as very close to Raymond Chow."

Prosecutors have alleged that the Chee Kung Tong, a civic association of which Chow is the "dragonhead" or leader, had a criminal faction also led by Chow. Chow's lawyers have vehemently denied that the group had a criminal element and maintain that Chow reformed after completing a racketeering and gun trafficking sentence in 2003.


Former TV stat ion fire investigation

No human remains were found by arson investigators who searched the charred wreckage of a vacant former television studio used as a shelter by dozens of squatters, a San Jose fire captain said Friday.

The San Jose Fire Department on Thursday called off its search for evidence of human victims in the five-alarm, suspected arson fire Sunday that destroyed the one-time home of KNTV at 645 Park Ave., fire Capt. Rob Brown said.

"They were not about to isolate any human remains at this time," Brown said. "The arson investigation is completed as far as searching the property."

The fire department turned over the site to the city of San Jose for demolition of what is left of the structure, Brown said.

A 55-year-old man, Stillman Pfeffer, was charged Wednesday with residential arson and first degree burglary in the fire, after prosecutors alleged he sprayed flammable liquid on a mattress inside the building Sunday while 20 to 40 transients were living inside it.

According to a report prepared by San Jose fire arson investigators, three people were unaccounted for of those living in the vacant building and "possibly were unable to exit the building at the time of the fire."

Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, which used the arson investigation report as part of its case against Pfeffer, asked a judge on Wednesday that Pfeffer be held without bail and reported that murder charges could be filed if anyone had been killed in the fire.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the fire department used human remains detection dogs to sniff the front and rear areas of the devastated building and the dogs indicated finding several "hits" for potential human remains, but none proved to be genuine.

Officers from Santa Clara County Animal Car & Control on Thursday recovered and removed the remains of a pet dog of one of the transients who had lived in the building, according to fire Capt. Cleo Doss.

On Tuesday, accelerant detection dogs brought in to find possible evidence of flammable materials identified some items that were bagged and taken to the county Crime Lab, according to San Jose fire arson investigators.

San Jose firefighters were called about the fire at 3 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Park and Montgomery avenues near the San Jose Caltrain station. The blaze eventually was upgraded to five alarms.

The fire was controlled by 5:47 p.m. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Property damage to the building was estimated at about $3.2 million, Deputy District Attorney David Boyd said.


Murder charges

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge on Friday entered a not guilty plea for Robert Zimmer, who along with his brother David is accused of murdering David's estranged wife in San Jose 25 years ago.

Judge Hector Ramon also agreed to grant a motion from the District Attorney's Office to consolidate the murder cases against the two men and set a preliminary hearing for both to begin on May 23.

The two elderly defendants, who have gray hair and beards, watched from a courtroom jury box in the Hall of Justice as their attorneys argued against the prosecution's move to consolidate their cases.

Ramon entered the not guilty plea for Robert Zimmer, 70, after Zimmer's attorney said he would not instruct his client to enter the plea himself.

Robert Zimmer, who with his brother David, 66, are charged with murder in the former cold-case death of 38-year-old Cathy Zimmer, whose strangled body was found inside her car in San Jose on March 10, 1989.

Both men are being held without bail in the county Main Jail in San Jose beside the courthouse.

David Zimmer pleaded not guilty to the murder charge when he was arraigned on March 10, the 25th anniversary of the discovery of Cathy Zimmer's body. Robert Zimmer was arraigned on the charge on Feb. 27 but did not enter a plea.

Arguing in favor of consolidating the Zimmer brothers' cases, Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani said that both involved a single set of facts and there is a large amount of evidence common to both men.

But the men's attorneys each vigorously opposed combining the cases.

Robert Zimmer's daughter Paula Zimmer told a San Jose police detective on Nov. 9, 2010, that she recalled her father saying he had met Cathy on the day the woman died and was concerned his fingerprints would be found in her car.

In 2012, the district attorney's Crime Lab examined a DNA swab from the zipper and button of pants worn by Cathy Zimmer when her body was located and it was determined that Robert Zimmer was a possible contributor to a mixture of DNA found on it, according to prosecutors.

David Zimmer, a one-time engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, was taken into custody based on the alleged motive that he collected about $400,000 from the sale of his and Cathy's home and from life insurance policies covering Cathy at the time of her death, Kajani said.

Cathy Zimmer's murder was a cold case for nearly 25 years until the district attorney's office disclosed in January that it had reopened it and released photos of the quilt that her body was wrapped in.


Vehicular manslaughter charges

A Pleasanton teen has pleaded no contest to felony vehicular manslaughter for a crash in Pleasanton last June that killed a bicyclist and injured her husband.

Cody Hall, 19, had faced a murder charge for the June 9 crash that killed 58-year-old Deborah Hersevoort of Dublin but at his preliminary hearing in Alameda County Superior Court on Thursday prosecutors allowed him to plead no contest to the lesser charge of vehicular manslaughter.

Pleasanton police said Hersevoort and her husband, Johannes Hersevoort, were riding their bicycles north on Foothill Road sough of Golden Eagle Way just after 1 p.m. on June 9 when Hall, who was driving a 2004 Dodge Neon in the same direction, crashed into them.

Police said the speed limit on Foothill Road is 40 mph but Hall was traveling at about 83 mph as he approached and passed another vehicle that also was traveling north.

Officer Tom Hansen said in a probable cause statement that the road "makes a sweeping right hand turn" in that area but Hall passed the other vehicle unlawfully, crossing double parallel lines, and then began to lose control of his car and crashed into the Hersevoorts.

He said Deborah Hersevoort was killed and Johannes Hersevoort suffered a broken leg.

In addition to pleading no contest to vehicular manslaughter for killing Deborah Hersevoort, Hall pleaded to an enhancement clause that he inflicted great bodily injury on her husband.

Hall's plea deal calls for him to receive a term of nine years in state prison when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Joseph Hurley sentences him on May 30.


U-Haul truck crash

The driver of a U-Haul truck was arrested after crashing into the back of a fire truck in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood and trying to flee Friday morning, a police spokesman said.

The U-Haul was on Ringold Street, a small alleyway between Folsom and Harrison streets, when it came out onto Ninth Street and hit the back of a San Francisco fire truck at about 11 a.m., police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The driver tried to flee, but the fire truck chased after it, calling police dispatchers and describing the truck, Esparza said.

The U-Haul driver then went back onto Ringold, hitting a parked car and then coming back to the corner of Ninth and Folsom, just feet from where the original crash occurred, Esparza said.

Police were waiting and arrested the woman driving the U-Haul there.

Esparza said it is unclear what charges she might be facing. No one was injured.


Missing hiker

The Marin County coroner's office has identified the missing hiker who was found dead on Mt. Tamalpais Thursday afternoon as 50-year-old Marie Christine Sanner of Mill Valley.

Sanner was hiking on Mt. Tamalpais and was reported missing by her father around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

She was last seen near the Mountain Home Range Inn a mile east of the Pantoll Ranger Station, Marin County sheriff's Lt. Doug Pittman said.

Her body was found at 5:30 p.m. Thursday along Fern Creek below and west of the Matt Davis Trail on Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County coroner's office Lt. Keith Boyd said.

Sanner was identified through fingerprints and an autopsy is scheduled for Monday, Boyd said.

The cause and manner of her death are under investigation, but there is no apparent connection to Sanner's death and the death of Magdalena Glinkowski, 33, of Menlo Park, Boyd said.

Glinkowski left a note on March 30 stating she was going for a hike. Her car was found April 4 near the Pantoll Campground, and security camera footage showed her walking across the parking lot.

A man who was trail running the day Glinkowski disappeared told the Marin County Sheriff's Office he saw Glinkowski's photo in the media and realized he might have seen her, the sheriff's office said.

Search and Rescue teams resumed the suspended search for Glinkowski and found her body on April 12 around 9:25 a.m. down a steep slope in a drainage area about a half-mile from the Bootjack parking lot where she was last seen, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office said Glinkowski's autopsy showed no visible signs of trauma, and the cause and manner of her death are pending toxicology tests.


Fatal shooting in Concord

An 18-year-old Antioch man was shot and killed in Concord on Thursday night, a Contra Costa County coroner's deputy said Friday.

Officers responding to a report of a shooting in the 1600 block of Adelaide Street around 8:55 p.m. found a man identified as Victor Manuel Gutierrez suffering from at least one gunshot wound.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said investigators are looking into what led to the shooting.

No suspect information was available. The killing was Concord's first homicide of 2014. ======================================================

Man attacked in SF

A man attacked while walking his dog in San Francisco's Mission District early Friday morning was uninjured but his dog was stabbed to death, a police spokesman said.

The 20-year-old man was walking his dog near 22nd and Bartlett streets at about 3 a.m. when two men between 20 and 25 years old approached him with a knife, police Officer Gordon Shyy said.

One of the two men grabbed the dog and they got into an argument.

Eventually they let the dog go and ran away, but when the man looked at his dog he realized it had been stabbed, Shyy said.

He took the dog to an animal hospital but it died from its injuries. Police have not located any suspects in the attack.



Increasing clouds overnight with patchy fog tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon will be mostly sunny and breezy again. High temperatures will range from upper 50s at the coast to low 80s inland.

Fremont: 49/69
Oakland: 50/68
Redwood City: 50/67
San Francisco: 50/64
San Jose: 50/74
Santa Rosa: 47/74

TONIGHT: Cloudy skies
Lows: Near 50
TOMORROW: Cloudy morning then becoming sunny & breezy winds with cool temps
Highs: In the upper 50s

East Bay:
TONIGHT: Partly cloudy skies
Lows: Near 50
TOMORROW: Cloudy morning then becoming sunny
Highs: In the upper 60s

East Bay Valleys:
TONIGHT: Some clouds
Lows: Upper 40s to Low 50s
TOMORROW: Mostly sunny
Highs: In the upper 70s to Low 80s

North Bay Valleys:
TONIGHT: Partly cloudy skies
Lows: In the upper 40s
TOMORROW: Mostly sunny
Highs: In the Low 70s

TONIGHT: Partly cloudy skies
Lows: In the upper 40s
TOMORROW: Cloudy morning then becoming sunny
Highs: In the upper 60s

South Bay:
TONIGHT: Partly cloudy
Lows: In the upper 40s to near 50
TOMORROW: Cloudy morning then becoming sunny
Highs: In the lower 70s

Increasing clouds into the evening with cooler temperatures: 56-74.
Slight chance of rain very late Monday night in the North Bay.

(Copyright 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, re-transmission or reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. Is prohibited.)

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