Crime, Fire + Courts

Bus driver convicted of rape

By From page A2 | August 16, 2013

A former bus driver for Yolo Employment Services was convicted of rape and other charges last week following a trial in Yolo Superior Court, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Thomas Vukodinovich, 74, faces up to 27 years in state prison at his Sept. 20 sentencing hearing.

A jury found Vukodinovich, a Woodland resident, guilty of one count of rape, one count of attempted rape, five counts of oral copulation and four counts of digital penetration with an adult woman, who according to prosecutors was unable to consent to the acts due to her mental disability.

The jury also deadlocked on multiple lesser counts, but the DA’s Office has declined to retry Vukodinovich on those charges, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven said Thursday.

Vukodinovich’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Lisa Lance, called the case “a very sad situation all the way around.”

According to District Attorney Jeff Reisig, Vukodinovich, who had worked for Yolo Employment Services as a bus driver since 2005, confessed to police “that he had engaged in regular and repeated sexual acts with the victim on the YES bus since 2009.”

He was arrested in June 2012 after two residents of Winters noticed the YES bus parked frequently on Main Street, “with the victim and the bus driver having some unusual contact,” Reisig said in a news release. The witnesses alerted the woman’s family as well as the Winters Police Department.

The woman was able to recount the activities during an interview at Yolo County’s Multidisciplinary Interview Center, which Reisig praised along with the witnesses and law-enforcement agencies for their work on the case.

“These crimes would not have been discovered without the two good Samaritan citizens from Winters who had the presence of mind and good sense to observe and then report the activity to the police,” Reisig said.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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