Friday, April 24, 2015

Family: Davis crash victim was ‘sharp’, ‘independent’

Darlene and Rudy MoralesW

Husband and wife, Rudy and Darlene Morales, pose for a photo Jan. 29 at Courtyard Skilled Nursing. Darlene died Feb. 1 after sustaining injuries in a hit-and-run accident earlier in the day. Courtesy photo

From page A1 | February 09, 2014 |

Three days before she lost her life in a Davis vehicle crash, Ruth Darlene Morales placed her husband of more than six decades in a local skilled nursing facility.

Each day, Morales — who preferred to be called Darlene — made the drive from her longtime home in Vacaville to the Courtyard Healthcare Center to be at the side of husband Rudy Morales, who according to family members is in the advanced stages of dementia.

“She wanted to see him every day,” said her daughter-in-law, Lucia Morales. “She honestly didn’t want him there by himself one minute of the day.”

Darlene Morales was driving on East Covell Boulevard following her Saturday visit when, authorities said, her car was struck by another westbound vehicle traveling an estimated 70 to 80 mph, more than twice the street’s posted speed limit.

The impact caused Morales’ Chevy Malibu to veer off the roadway and strike a metal pole before coming to rest against a tree, resulting in fatal injuries to the mother of two and grandmother of five. She had celebrated her 85th birthday just the day before.

However, “she was too stubborn to get old,” said Bob Morales, the victim’s son. He said his mother was an active woman and cared for her husband for more than a year while his health declined, yet still managed their household without missing a beat.

“She was very sharp, very independent, and she liked to be happy,” he said.

On Friday, four of Morales’ relatives attended a bail hearing in Yolo Superior Court for Armando Arias Gonzalez Jr., the 39-year-old Woodland man accused of causing the crash that killed Morales, as well as a second collision minutes later at Covell and Pole Line Road that left a Davis mother and daughter with minor injuries.

Gonzalez has pleaded not guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run charges.

His attorney, Clemente Jimenez, told Judge Paul Richardson that his client is epileptic and suffers from occasional seizures, and that “his medical condition has a lot to do with the current situation.” Neither drugs nor alcohol were factors in the crashes, he has said previously.

Jimenez said Gonzalez manages his epilepsy with medication but typically leaves the driving to his wife. However, she is nine months pregnant and currently under a doctor’s orders not to drive.

The defense attorney asked Richardson to reduce Gonzalez’s bail from $100,000 to $40,000, saying his client has extensive Yolo County ties and poses neither a flight risk nor a public safety threat. He also asked that, if unable to post bail, Gonzalez be granted a weeklong release to attend his child’s birth.

But the case’s prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor, opposed both requests. She said a flight risk exists because Gonzalez allegedly left the scene of the fatal crash and, had his car not been disabled, may have fled from the second collision as well.

Zambor also said Gonzalez was involved in two prior crashes, in 2010 and 2011, at least one of which also was blamed on a seizure.

“He knows the risks and continues to drive and put other people in danger,” Zambor said, adding that the current case could be amended to charge Gonzalez with second-degree murder upon further review of his medical records and DMV history.

Richardson denied both the bail reduction and Gonzalez’s release for his child’s birth, a ruling that Morales’ family praised but thought could have gone a step further.

“We wanted him to raise (the bail),” Bob Morales said.

Gonzalez is due back in court March 7 for a preliminary hearing.

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



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery



    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12





    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery





    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5