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Investigators Downplay Reports of Weapons, Drug Violations a Week Before Double Fatal Crash

Concord Police await test results and more before sending case to District Attorney's office.

Nine days after of the SUV that who were riding bicycles on Treat Boulevard April 7, authorities say it's unclear when the case will be turned in to the District Attorney's office.

"We're doing analysis of physical evidence," said Concord Police Lt. Bill Roche. "... based on the debris field, crush damage on the vehicle, a full-scale diagram of the scene and waiting for drugs and alcohol reports ... it takes time."

Meanwhile, new accusations of alleged criminal behavior by the teen driver arrested in connection with the case have surfaced, though doubt remains as to whether he was actually involved.

The investigation into the accident that claimed the lives of Hadessa, 9, and Soleiman Nuri, 41, currently focuses on the statements of all involved parties, witnesses and emergency responder reports to more technical items such as mechanical assessments of the car, cell phone records, and standard drug and alcohol lab tests, said Roche. All items could serve in court to prove negligence was a factor, potentially making the accident manslaughter.

held in honor of the victims.

"We're working on all of them simultaneously, but the drug and alcohol test, for example, isn't up to us," said the lieutenant. "We do it on all types of cases like these and they can't be rushed; could still be a couple of weeks."

The Escalade flipped over a number of times, witnesses said, and damaged a building at Treat Boulevard and Oak Grove and also injured the victims' 12-year-old daughter and sister, who survived the accident. 

Proof that the teenage driver behaved in a negligent manner is what would make the accident a felony, said Roche.

"Because of the law, no matter how emotional the case, the defense attorney will fire back. We know it'll be a huge issue to prove driving speed, negligence or obviously, alcohol."

Roche said he could not comment in detail on what evidence the department has or doesn't have.

Party a week before

A neighbor in the Arbolado Drive area of Walnut Creek, who asked not to be identified, believes the 17-year-old suspect is the same individual cited for possession of alcohol a week before in Walnut Creek. The license plate of the white Escalade cited in the March 31 incident in Walnut Creek matches the license plate of the white Escalade in the fatal accident April 7 on Treat Boulevard in Concord, according to a post in the Claycord blog.

Police cannot confirm that the same white Escalade and the same 17-year-old driver are involved in the two incidents, Walnut Creek Police Lt. Lanny Edwards and Concord Police Lt. Bill Roche said Thursday.

"There are still items being investigated that have not been confirmed by [CPD] as fact," said Roche. "[And those] can affect people's emotions."

At 11:35 a.m. Saturday, March 31 — the weekend before the Treat Boulevard fatal accident — a 17-year-old was cited for possession of alcohol in a white Escalade at Arbolado Drive and Manzano Drive in Walnut Creek, according to bulletins from the Walnut Creek police.

Police responded to a complaint by a neighbor about a suspicious white Escalade in the neighborhood. Walnut Creek police are withholding identification of the 17-year-old as a juvenile offender.

The alcohol citation late the morning of March 31 came after a long, busy night of police calls up and down Arbolado Drive, with a loud party going on in the neighborhood. Police responded to a complaint about cars coming and going from one house and at 7:14 p.m. Friday, March 30, arrested Logan Muela, 18, of Walnut Creek, on suspicion of possession of heroin in the first block of Arbolado Drive, according to WCPD bulletins.

According to WCPD bulletins, on that Friday night along Arbolado Drive, police also investigated complaints of:

  • three youths walking on a lawn.
  • a suspicious van parked in the area.
  • vehicles driving erratically on the wrong side of the road on Arbolado, and
  • another juvenile who was cited for narcotics and weapons violations.
Chris Nicholson April 20, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Is possession of alcohol (note no DUI allegation) by a 17 year old really "disturbing new accusations of criminal behavior by the teen driver?" IMHO, not an editorially responsible description (even if we assume that we are talking about the same kid). The kid either had drugs/alcohol in his system at the time of the incident, or he didn't-- and we will soon know that answer. I find it recklessly prejudicial to mention the prior citation. Furthermore, I'm not sure where you guys all grew up, but for me the class of "17 year old boys who have ever possessed alcohol" significantly overlapped with the class of "17 year old boys."
Rosemary April 20, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Scene from $25,000 Pyramid... TV Star: The Scarecrow. TV Star: Jellyfish. TV Star: 17 year old boys. Contestant: Things without a brain.
Jose April 21, 2012 at 12:10 AM
As much as it pains me to agree with CN, I am left wondering why these allegations are being "published". The forensic tests, the eyewitness testimony, the analysis of the crash scene are being evaluated right now. This is a very serious case. Why print such uncorroborated hearsay before Concord PD even issues a report? It's not as though you are helping them to find evidence. You are publishing hearsay. Next time, report on the police report.
Chris Nicholson April 21, 2012 at 12:22 AM
MD: I was objecting to the unbalanced tone of the first draft of this piece, which has since been revised. As edited, I am OK with the journalism, but I agree that the "new facts" are pretty fuzzy. Don't get me wrong, all evidence point to this kid being a loser and this not being merely an "honest accident." Any rational person would conclude that he *probably* (>50%) was exercising less than "reasonable care" in his driving style. But the criminal burden of proof is much higher, so let's wait and see..

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