WOODLAND — There are some things Jonathan Pinkerton remembers about the evening of Aug. 27, 2007. The Davis man recalls meeting up with his friends Kyle Daubert and Daniel Mastrup after work, then deciding to ride their motorcycles around Davis before heading west toward Winters.
It was after the trio passed the intersection of Russell Boulevard and Pedrick Road that Pinkerton’s memory fails him.
“I vaguely remember being placed on a helicopter that night,” Pinkerton, 28, testified Thursday in Yolo Superior Court, referring to the air ambulance that transported him to a Sacramento hospital following a hit-and-run crash west of Davis. “I do not remember the collision.”
Pinkerton was the first witness in the trial of Noelle Warren, the 27-year-old Dixon woman accused of causing the hit-and-run crash that left Pinkerton hospitalized for 17 days. Warren’s father, Lorin Warren, 52, is being tried as an accessory for allegedly concealing evidence of the felony crime.
Both have pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys say there is no evidence Noelle Warren was driving the vehicle that August night, and that her father had no knowledge of a hit-and-run crime when he took the damaged car to be repaired.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Pinkerton and Daubert were struck from behind at about 8:45 p.m. as they rode their motorcycles side by side westbound on Russell Boulevard near County Road 96. The impact sent Pinkerton flying from his motorcycle into a ditch, where Daubert’s motorcycle landed on top of him.
Daubert, now 29, also was injured. The hit-and-run driver dragged Pinkerton’s motorcycle about a mile west, leaving a trail of fluid and tire friction marks before it became dislodged from the vehicle.
Pinkerton described the major injuries he suffered in the crash, including a collapsed lung, broken nose and a lost spleen that has left his immune system compromised. He lifted his shirt to show the jury his scars.
“I have to constantly have antibiotics on hand in case I get ill or have a fever,” Pinkerton said under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Clinton Parish. He said a cough once quickly led to bronchitis, and a fall from a bicycle brought on a bout of shingles, “which is probably one of the most painful illnesses I’ve ever had.”
In his opening statement Thursday, Parish told the jury he expects to call witnesses who will say that Noelle Warren was known to drive the maroon Chevrolet Tahoe that was registered in her father’s name. Also taking the stand will be Guillermo Castro, described by Parish as a “backyard mechanic” hired by Lorin Warren to repair the damaged sport-utility vehicle in early September 2007.
“He intended to help (Noelle Warren) escape and avoid arrest — that’s what the evidence is going to show,” Parish said.
Acting on a tip, CHP officers recovered the car from Castro’s Winters home 12 days after the collision, though it would be another nine months before charges were filed in the case.
According to Parish, there were markings on the Tahoe’s undercarriage that matched the tire-tread pattern on Pinkerton’s motorcycle. The front grille, recovered from an auto recycling yard, showed bolt impressions and blue paint transfer consistent with the motorcycle’s license plate.
Lorin Warren told Castro that his vehicle had struck a tree, said Parish, who also noted that the Warrens failed to report the damaged vehicle to their insurance company.
But that’s not a felony crime, said defense attorney David Dratman, who represents the elder Warren. He said Lorin Warren’s $1,000 insurance deductible “would be a washout” had he filed a claim, so he hired Castro, an acquaintance, to repair the car instead.
“There is going to be no proof Lorin Warren knew the Chevy Tahoe was involved in a felony,” Dratman said in his opening statement. He said Warren did not instruct Castro to hide the damaged vehicle, and he even used a credit card to pay for the replacement parts.
“These materials were not paid for in cash by a person who concealed what he was doing,” Dratman said.
Noelle Warren’s attorney, Steve Sabbadini, homed in on Daniel Mastrup, the only witness to catch a glimpse of the occupants of the hit-and-run vehicle as it sped past him. But the attorney said Mastrup provided varying descriptions in the days and months after the crash and failed to identify Noelle Warren in a CHP-prepared photo lineup.
“Several times he has given statements, and it keeps changing — significantly changing,” Sabbadini said. “There are no witnesses who can confidently say Noelle Warren was the driver of that vehicle on the night of Aug. 27, 2007.”
Testimony was scheduled to continue Friday in Judge Timothy Fall’s courtroom.
— Reach Lauren Keene at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene