2.26.2010

TS - Case surrounding fatal crash on Highway 299 delayed

Case surrounding fatal crash on Highway 299 delayed

A judge ruled Monday that the two men accused of causing the crash that killed a 9-year-old McKinleyville girl last year must stand trial together, but allowed a 60-day continuance of the trial date.

Jason Whitmill, 31, and Anthony Flores, 19, were both allegedly involved in a street race down State Route 299 outside Arcata that ended with a collision that killed Nicole Quigley, 9, and seriously injured her mother Debra on Oct. 6, 2008.

Prosecutors allege that when Whitmill tried to pass Flores' vehicle, his car crashed into the Quigley's vehicle, which spun off the road and slammed into a power pole.

Whitmill has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence causing injury and engaging in a speed challenge. Flores has pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter, engaging in a speed challenge and participating in a hit-and-run injury.

Defense attorney Hugh Gallagher, representing Flores, requested Monday the two cases be separated because the second-degree murder charge against Whitmill “invokes a lot of passion” from the public.

”My fear is that passion will spill over and bring prejudice against Mr. Flores,” Gallagher said.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos argued against separating the cases, stating that although the charges were different, the evidence against the two was identical and that the law prefers them to be tried together.

”It's the same facts, same witnesses, same defenses, but different levels of culpability,” Gallegos said.

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson stated that the defenses were not different enough to separate the cases.
”The evidence is similar, if not identical, to each,” he said.

Whitmill's defense attorney, Glenn Brown, requested the court continue the trial date, which was scheduled to start next week. Brown said he had lined up an expert reconstruction witness before the preliminary hearing but had not been able to secure funding to bring the expert into court.

Gallegos conceded that Brown had proceeded with due diligence to attain funding without success and agreed to the continuance. The trial date is now set for Nov. 23.

Brown also has a pending motion to suppress the blood sample taken from Whitmill at the scene of the collision.
Allison White can be reached at 441-0506 or awhite@times-standard.com.
Allison White/The Times-Standard
Posted: 09/15/2009 01:15:13 AM PDT
From comments:
Frank Rizzo
Santa Rosa, CA
Reply »|Report Abuse|#1Sep 15, 2009

Defense attorney Hugh Gallagher, representing Flores, requested Monday the two cases be separated because the second-degree murder charge against Whitmill “invokes a lot of passion” from the public.

”My fear is that passion will spill over and bring prejudice against Mr. Flores,” Gallagher said.

No, Mr Gallagher, the passion is spilling over against you, because you keep dragging your feet on this. But I know in defending your upstanding client you could give a rip about the Quigley family. Sleep much?
Dad
San Francisco, CA
Reply »|Report Abuse|#2Sep 15, 2009

These people have an excuse for everything. The trial is delayed another 60 days now so Whitmills attorney Glen Brown can try to find the funding to hire a reconstructionist, anybody out there want to help him out? This dirt bag and his Lawyer have managed also to get the blood supression issue in front of another judge in Humboldt County Court this Friday September 18th at 8:00 am the blood supression has already been denied by two Humboldt County judges the California appellate court and is currently at the California Supreme Court for review. These dirt bags will stop at nothing and us the stupid tax payers continue to let it happen.
Josephine Blowe
Eureka, CA
Reply »|Report Abuse|#3Sep 15, 2009

The chief Dirtbag is our DA! When is he going to grow a sac and put an end to these endless shenanigans? Please do not even think about bleating "Due Process" over this. Farcical delays from a scum sucking attorney bought and paid for by my tax dollars, meth-addled idiots fed, housed and clothed by my tax dollars, a grieving family denied closure or resolution. And, sitting there in his office, thinking about a bong-load and a breaking wave, our illustrous DA.

Nope,nothing wrong here.
***
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.