2.26.2010

TS - Superior Court delays hearing in 299 crash case

Superior Court delays hearing in 299 crash case
The preliminary hearing for two drivers accused of causing the October wreck that claimed the life of 9-year-old Nicole Quigley was continued Tuesday due to a lack of available courtrooms.

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Joyce Hinrichs set a March 9 date for the continuation of Tuesday's hearing, which was to determine if there is enough evidence to hold Anthony Flores, 19, and Jason Bradley Whitmill, 31, to stand trial on charges relating to their alleged roles in a street race on State Route 299 that led to the fatal crash.

Dozens of members of the Quigley family and their friends attended Tuesday's hearing, many of them wearing pink, Nicole's favorite color. Some cried and others expressed frustration after Hinrichs announced the continuance before the packed courtroom.

”We're pretty disappointed,” said Kenneth Quigley, Nicole's father. “A lot of people took time off and really made an effort to be here.”

Flores was allegedly racing Whitmill at more than 90 mph on State Route 299 near Guintoli Lane on Oct. 6, 2008, when Whitmill attempted to pass Flores' vehicle on the right and collided with a Chevrolet Tahoe headed in the same direction.

Debra Quigley, the Tahoe's driver, was seriously injured and her daughter, Nicole, 9, died when the vehicle flipped and collided into a utility pole. Flores fled the scene, but was later arrested after an intense search for his silver-colored late model Ford Mustang, which was recovered despite reportedly having been spray painted black in an effort to conceal it.

Flores faces charges of vehicular manslaughter, illegal street racing causing an injury and failure to stop for an injury accident. Whitmill is facing charges of murder, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, vehicular manslaughter, DUI and illegal street racing causing injury.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges and remain held in Humboldt County jail.

After Tuesday's hearing, Kenneth Quigley said the continuance -- which Hinrichs attributed to a lack of available courtrooms due to a pair of ongoing murder trials and a lengthy civil case -- is emblematic of a failing Humboldt County court system.

”Nothing happens when it's supposed to,” he said. “I think this is a perfect example of the Humboldt County Court system, and something needs to be done to fix it so these guys can get put where they belong, which I believe is in prison.”

Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or tgreenson@times-standard.com
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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.