2.26.2010

TS - Authorities arrest driver of Mustang

Authorities arrest driver of Mustang
After an extensive search across Humboldt County, authorities believe they have located the driver of a silver Mustang allegedly involved in an illegal street race Monday that killed a 9-year-old McKinleyville girl.

Anthony Flores, a 19-year-old man from Eureka, was arrested at his workplace Thursday afternoon, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Brett Fabbri.

”We have located the driver of the silver Mustang,” said Sgt. Brett Fabbri. “He was arrested and is in jail.”

Flores is being held on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run. No formal charges have been filed with the District Attorney's Office, but Fabbri said those should come soon. The Mustang has not been located, but CHP said it is a 1998 convertible that has been “spray-painted black” and was last seen Wednesday by a witness in McKinleyville.

Flores was reportedly one of two men involved in the alleged street race. According to police reports, the two vehicles were speeding at more than 90 miles per hour on State Route 299 late Monday afternoon when the 2004 Pontiac Sunfire clipped a Chevrolet Tahoe driving the same direction.

Both the Sunfire and the Tahoe flipped from the roadway. The Tahoe overturned and hit a utility pole, killing Nicole Quigley and seriously injuring her mother, Debra Quigley.

The Mustang sped away, prompting a search by law enforcement.

The driver of the Sunfire, Jason Bradley Whitmill, 31, was arrested at the scene through a parole hold. Thursday afternoon Fabbri said Whitmill had not been charged with vehicular manslaughter, but he expected to see those charges filed soon.

Blood samples, taken from Whitmill at the scene, showed he had recently been drinking alcohol. Fabbri said the upcoming charges will reflect that.

Whitmill suffered minor injuries in the collision. Cheri Marcelli, his passenger who suffered moderate injuries, told authorities she had been driving the vehicle in order to keep Whitmill out of trouble, Fabbri said.

Police records show Whitmill has a history of erratic driving and drug use.

In January, Whitmill pleaded guilty to evading a police officer and wanton disregard for safety.

According to a police report, in December an officer located Whitmill, a “parolee at large,” driving in Eureka. When Whitmill saw the officer, he reportedly sped away. The officer reported Whitmill was later found after he fled on foot into a nearby wooded area.

Officers found a large quantity of marijuana and hash inside Whitmill's vehicle, but the drug charges were dropped in exchange for his guilty plea.

Flores is expected to be arraigned early next week.

Anyone who has seen his vehicle, license number 6EMK473, is asked to call 911 or 268-2000.
Sean Garmire can be reached at 441-0514 or sgarmire@times-standard.com.
***
Related:
09
Whitmill and Flores trial date delayed another month 08/04/2009
Whitmill, Flores take District Attorney's deal 12/05/2009
Jury selection begins in trial of Whitmill, Flores 11/23/2009
Whitmill, Flores trial to proceed 11/10/2009
Motion denied to suppress blood sample in Whitmill case 11/06/2009
Whitmill faces murder charge for alleged role in crash 10/15/2008
Quigley family, friends remember 9-year-old Nicole 10/06/09
Nearly one year ago 10/01/2009
Case surrounding fatal crash on Highway 299 delayed 09/15/2009
Too many delays 9/10/09
Legal maneuvers slow case of men charged in 9-year-old's death 09/01/2009
Whitmill and Flores trial date delayed another month 08/04/2009
Evidence, charges unchanged against Whitmill 07/17/2009
Evidence for second degree murder charge? 06/19/2009
Thinking of the Quigleys 05/29/2009
Remember Nicole 05/08/2009
Looking forward: Quigley family watches and waits as case continues 05/17/2009
Defendants in 299 wreck plead not guilty 03/28/2009
Judge holds Whitmill, Flores to answer for 299 wreck 03/14/2009
Wife refuses to testify against husband at preliminary hearing 03/13/2009
Investigator testifies suspect in fatal crash changed story 03/12/2009
Officer testifies about 299 crash at prelim 03/11/2009
Preliminary hearing over Highway 299 wreck continues 03/10/2009
Superior Court delays hearing in 299 crash case 02/11/2009
Broken system 01/23/2009

08
Hug your children 12/03/2008
Vehicular manslaughter suspect has extensive criminal history 11/13/2008
Whitmill-Flores hearing continued 11/06/2008
Street race case waiting on CHP reports 10/23/2008
Authorities seek Mustang passenger for questioning 10/17/2008
Court document: Flores tried to 'subvert' investigation 10/16/08
Whitmill faces murder charge for alleged role in crash 10/15/2008
Authorities arrest driver of Mustang 10/10/2008
New driver named in fatal collision 10/09/2008
Search continues for other driver in fatal crash 10/08/2008
◼ ER Parolee named as driver in fatal collision
◼ TS New driver identified in fatal crash
◼ TS New driver named in fatal collision
TS Update: ☛ TS Police still looking for driver
◼ TS Driver sought: Suspected drag race on 299 results in fatal crash

Note: there were other articles in the Eureka reporter, but none are available online anymore.