2.26.2010

TS - Search continues for other driver in fatal crash

Search continues for other driver in fatal crash

Police throughout Humboldt County continued the search Tuesday for the silver, black-topped Mustang authorities suspect was racing with another car when a third vehicle was struck, killing a 9-year-old McKinleyville girl.

Sgt. Brett Fabbri with the California Highway Patrol said investigators believe Cheri Marcelli, a 40-year-old Willow Creek woman, was driving one of the cars involved in the impromptu drag race on State Route 299 Monday at around 4:30 p.m., and they are asking for the public's help to find the driver of the other vehicle.

Fabbri said authorities believe there may have been more than two people riding in the black-topped silver Mustang, which may have been a convertible.

”We've got a pretty good idea of what occurred,” Fabbri said. “A 9-year-old child died in this crash. (The community) should do the right thing, and if anyone has any information, they should come forward.”

Nicole Quigley, 9, was killed, and her mother, Debra Quigley, seriously injured, when their 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe was clipped by a car speeding at 90 miles per hour or more, according to CHP.

Both Marcelli's 2004 Pontiac Sunbird and the Tahoe drove off an embankment.

According to CHP information, the Tahoe slammed into a utility pole, and stopped moving on Boyd Road, which parallels Route 299. The Sunbird came to rest on its roof.

Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Charles Comer said Debra Quigley suffered injuries to her torso and neck.

Debra Quigley was transported to Mad River Hospital, and later flown to Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford for treatment. Personnel there confirmed Tuesday she had been downgraded from serious to fair condition, and was removed from intensive care.

Fabbri said two other passengers were riding in the Tahoe, including Nicole Quigley's twin sister and a friend. Both of the other passengers sustained minor injures and walked away from the wreck, Fabbri said.

Marcelli was transported to Mad River Hospital with major injuries. Fabbri said investigators have attempted interviews with her.

”We're still working out what her involvement is,” he said, “but she's not being the most cooperative.”

Fabbri said no charges have been filed against Marcelli as it is still too early in the investigation. Fabbri said investigators are now sifting through the tips -- he estimated around 60 -- authorities received from the public Tuesday.

At Nicole's school, Dow's Prairie Elementary, Principal Jane Rowland said the school library was set up to be a counseling center for the children Tuesday and a letter was sent home to parents saying services were available if needed.

Rowland said the parents of students in Nicole's class were notified the night before so the children wouldn't learn the news when they arrived at school. She said Tuesday was difficult for students and staff and she would be watching to see how students were doing today, saying elementary school aged children often find comfort in keeping their routines during difficult times.

Anyone with information is asked to call CHP at 822-5981.
Sean Garmire can be reached at 441-0514 or sgarmire@times-standard.com.
***
Related:
09
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Jury selection begins in trial of Whitmill, Flores 11/23/2009
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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.