The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office declined to
charge the alleged driver of a car involved in a high-speed
double-fatal accident last week, sending the case back to police
for further investigation. Meanwhile, police arrested an
18-year-old involved in the crash, according to family of one of
the men who died in the accident.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office declined to charge the alleged driver of a car involved in a high-speed double-fatal accident last week, sending the case back to police for further investigation. Meanwhile, police arrested an 18-year-old involved in the crash, according to family of one of the men who died in the accident.
David Torres, 18, who police arrested hours after the crash on May 27 as the suspected driver of the vehicle, had been booked for driving under the influence, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and fleeing the scene of an accident after committing vehicular manslaughter. However, there is doubt as to whether Torres actually was at the wheel at the time of the accident, a source close to the investigation said.
Torres was released from Santa Clara County Jail after the district attorney’s office sent the case back to Gilroy police Tuesday.
“We are continuing to review the evidence in the case and are awaiting further interviews as well as further analysis of the accident to determine who was driving,” District Attorney spokeswoman Amy Cornell said.
Police then arrested John Anthony Carrillo Jr., 18, on Wednesday for probation violation, and booked him Thursday into Santa Clara County Jail, where he awaits arraignment on charges of false impersonation by the District Attorney’s office.
Juana Aguilar, Aguirre’s cousin, wrote in a letter to the Dispatch that “Anthony was in the passenger” seat of the car that crashed. In addition, Emily Reyes – Aguirre’s sister – said she believed Carrillo might have been a fourth person in the vehicle.
Late last week, police said Torres was drunkenly driving
an older-model Plymouth near Sixth and Alexander streets just before 1 a.m. May 27 when it struck a lamppost, rolled over and caused the deaths of 30-year-old Joel Zabala of San Martin and 28-year-old Robert Aguirre of Gilroy. The crash left the light pole snapped in half and sticking out of a house, a tree uprooted and strewn across the street, and a neighborhood awake in the middle of the night.
Police initially identified only three people inside that vehicle. However, multiple witnesses at the scene said they saw at least two people flee the vehicle, meaning there were at least four people in the car at the time of the crash. In addition, friends and family of the crash victims repeatedly have claimed that Torres had no driver’s license and would never drive a car.
Stanford would not say this week how many people were in the car or whether Torres is still the suspected driver. The investigation is active and ongoing, he said.
“Whether there were three people or 10 people in the car, part of the investigation is to investigate whether there was a shadow of a doubt,” Stanford said.
Further investigations would entail reconstructing the accident scene and interviewing additional witnesses, Sgt. Wes Stanford said.
Cornell said she did not know when the District Attorney’s office would review the case again. That would depend on how long it would take police to investigate the matter, she said.
It is not uncommon for the district attorney’s office to forward cases to investigating agencies for further review, she said.
“It happens a lot,” she said.
Reyes said Torres, who dated her niece, didn’t drive. She was adamant that the charges were false.
“The Gilroy Police Department needs to do the job correctly because the person they’re trying to get for this doesn’t know how to drive a car. He walks everywhere he goes,” she said last week. “It’s upsetting to my whole family. We already have enough upset. To hear they’re charging him with this is even more upsetting.”
Police said Torres fled the accident scene on foot, but was apprehended soon after. Arrest records show he was arrested at 6:35 a.m. Thursday at Forest and Sixth streets.
Anyone with information related to the investigation can call Investigator Nestor Quinones at 846-0300 or leave an anonymous tip at (800) 782-7463.
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