Thursday, April 24, 2014

Not-guilty plea for driver accused of causing fatal Davis crash

From page A1 | February 06, 2014 | 8 Comments

WOODLAND — A Woodland man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run charges stemming from a pair of weekend collisions in Davis, one of which killed an elderly woman.

Armando Arias Gonzalez Jr., 39, confirmed his name to Yolo Superior Court Commissioner Janene Beronio through a Spanish language interpreter. His attorney, Clemente Jimenez, entered the not-guilty plea on Gonzalez’s behalf.

Beronio scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for March 7 in Judge Paul Richardson’s courtroom. Jimenez also requested a bail hearing for Gonzalez, which Beronio set for 10 a.m. Friday.

Davis police say Gonzalez was the driver of a Toyota Corolla that struck a Chevy Malibu shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday on East Covell Boulevard near Baywood Lane, causing the Chevy to veer off the road and crash into a tree. The driver, 85-year-old Ruth D. Morales of Vacaville, died from her injuries about seven hours later at the UC Davis Medical Center.

Gonzalez allegedly fled the scene of that crash and rear-ended a Jeep whose driver, Davis resident Julie Mohr, had stopped for a red light while driving with her 12-year-old daughter. Both were hospitalized but were not seriously injured.

Relatives of Gonzalez who attended his arraignment hearing referred a reporter’s questions to Jimenez, who offered condolences to the crash victims and their families.

“This is, of course, an unfortunate tragedy,” Jimenez said. He added that while the events leading up to Saturday’s collisions remain under investigation, “what I can tell you is that drugs and/or alcohol absolutely were not involved.”

Gonzalez remains in Yolo County Jail custody in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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


Discussion | 8 comments

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  • February 06, 2014 - 2:32 pm

    This is so unfair I know this person Armando suffers seizures it can happen any time. However my condolences to the families afflicted, but they must understand medical conditions that are non controllable, well it's in gods hand sat that point

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  • February 06, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    IF he did suffer from a seizure disorder that could happen at any time then he had no business operating a vehicle. He killed someone, and accident or not, he has to pay the consequence for this.

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  • February 07, 2014 - 12:19 pm

    If he was medically cleared to operate a vehicle by both a Doctor and The DMV (which the DMV decides who can operate, as it is a privelage not a right) then they were aware of his medical condition, and have a bigger blame than the driver. If he suffered a seizure in the course of an accident, then he had no malicious intent. Which would negate BOTH charges.

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  • February 07, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    From what I've read so far he tried to get back in his car after the second accident and flee the scene. Was he having a seizure then too?

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  • February 08, 2014 - 12:45 am

    Yes. I'll just leave this here. The kind of seizures Mr. Gonzalez suffers from are known as "absense Seizures" in which the person appears conscious and aware of their actions, but is in fact not aware of their actions nor are in control of their bodies. And it is funny, The witnesses are saying that he got out and back into the vehicle, but witnessing this first hand, He was in his vehicle the whole time until a police officer dragged him out from the passenger side.

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  • February 08, 2014 - 2:06 am

    Please take the time to educate yourself on seizures. There are many types of seizures. Grand Mal, are the most commonly thought of seizure, in which an individual foams at the mouth, convulses, etc. They can occur once, or multiple times in a row. The kind of seizures that Mr. Gonzalez has are known as "Absence" seizures, in which an individual isn't aware of his surroundings, actions, or abilities. The seizures are usually lasting of anywhere between 1-10 minutes. Following the seizure(s) the person enters a state of confusion, often not knowing about their surroundings, locations, etc. It is very well possible that he suffered a seizure before the first accident, and continued driving without stopping in an absence state. If you have been to both crime scenes, you will notice that there are neither any type of indication of skid marks or tire marks indicating any braking. So are we to suggest that Mr. Gonzalez drove 70-80mph (as stated) clipping the first vehicle without receiving any harm himself in either incident, and continued at that speed without braking a second time in a correct state of mind? Unless he was suicidal after leaving his place of employment (not suggested, as in the court hearings we find out that he is expecting his first child), wouldn't a conscious human being's first reaction be to slam on the brakes? His attorney's statement indicates “what I can tell you is that drugs and/or alcohol absolutely were not involved.” so this should indicate that Mr. Gonzalez was in fact sober. What sober individual acts so irrationally unless a medical condition presented itself? Even diabetics are known to have moments of absences in consciousness with too low blood sugar. We are led to believe that one is innocent until proven guilty. To prove guilt, you must prove beyond a REASONABLE doubt his malicious actions correct? Reasonable doubts: Confirmed medical condition. No Alcohol/Drugs in system. Irrational behavior leading up to, including, and after both accidents. Even with his medical condition, the DMV is strict on their allowing someone with epilepsy to obtain a license. In the court hearings, Mr. Gonzalez was involved in at least two other accidents where epilepsy could be to blame. At which point do we stop blaming the driver and start blaming the doctor and DMV (Which coincidentally is sworn to protect drivers). It would be a different case if he wasn't legally allowed to drive, but it seams like he was. He was well within his rights to drive an automobile. A seizure is unpredictable. A medical examiner or someone at the DMV should have caught this before someone had to die. I had seen a case last year of a lady who killed a family of five and was acquitted even after she didn't comply with a medical examiner's recommendation to seek a neurologist exam, that was negligence, and she got away with it. This person has a license issued by the DMV so that must mean that he had his medical records up to date. Why is his case any different?

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  • February 08, 2014 - 8:07 am

    Are his seizures well documented in his medical records? Did he inform the DMV of his condition? Why did he try to get back in his car and flee after the second accident (according to the driver of the second car that was struck)?

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  • February 08, 2014 - 12:27 pm

    According to his attorney, yes, his seizures are well documented, as he has suffered seizures since being a child. The DMV was aware of his condition, as his doctor has to submit medical records every 6 months I believe to the DMV if there is no change in his status. If he tried to get back into his vehicle (which some people suggested didn't happen, as he was quickly pulled out through the passenger side of the vehicle) and flee, it could be that he was still in an episode. During absence seizures, a person isn't aware of anything they are doing. The body could be running on reflexes or memories of driving. It is unknown at the moment.

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