Category Archives: News

Mom fights back after loss of daughter to drinking driver in West Sac

JESSICA FRAIRE (right) with her mother SONIA RODRIGUEZ. Jessica was cut down by a hit-and-run driver on Sacramento Avenue in 2008 (courtesy photo)

JESSICA FRAIRE (right) with her mother SONIA RODRIGUEZ. Jessica was cut down by a hit-and-run driver on Sacramento Avenue in 2008 (courtesy photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 14, 2013 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Sonia Rodriguez can’t undo what happened to her 17-year old daughter five years ago on a dark and drizzly West Sacramento street. But she is trying to keep the same thing from happening to somebody else’s daughter.

“Halloween, 2008, started out just like any other,” Rodriguez reported to friends in a recent email. “We were all getting ready to go trick-or-treating. We were excited that year because our youngest, two-year old Carmen, was finally old enough.”

“On the way home, Jessica’s friend, Rosa, called to see if she wanted to walk around for a little while. Who knew that would be the last time I would speak with my daughter? Two hours later, an officer came to our door and told us Jessica had been in a car crash.”

Jessica Fraire had been walking with Rosa Zaragoza (then 18, and also a River City High School student) on Sacramento Avenue near Douglas Avenue. They were probably walking eastbound, on the side of the street without a sidewalk, when a pickup truck swerved onto the paved shoulder and cut them down from behind.

Rosa Zaragoza was seriously injured.

Jessica died several days later of her own injuries.

The pickup fled the scene – followed by a witness who lost sight of it on the other side of the I Street Bridge.

After massive regional publicity, the next morning 34-year old Jennifer Moran of West Sacramento turned herself in.

“The lady admitted she had been drinking,” police lieutenant Tod Sockman told the News-Ledger in 2008. “She said she realized she had hit something, but was unsure what she hit. She drove around, and talked to a friend during the night, and then turned herself in.”

Moran is now free after serving time for vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run, said Rodriguez. Even during sentencing at the court, said Jessica’s mother, Moran never apologized for the accident.

“I was shocked and outraged that she was released,” Rodriguez told the News-Ledger. “I felt victimized all over again. I was told she would serve at least half her time (a nine-year sentence) and to serve less than three years was unthinkable.”

[adrotate group=”9″] In court, reports Rodriguez, Moran didn’t show any contrition:

“She said, ‘no, I don’t have a drinking problem, I just shouldn’t have given my friend a ride that night.’”

Because police didn’t have contact with Moran until the morning after the accident, they did not have direct evidence that Moran had been driving with too much alcohol in her blood. But they did a thorough job coming up with circumstantial evidence of DUI, said Rodriguez.

They talked to staff at the drinking establishments Moran and her friends had visited on that dismal night, counting the drinks served to her party. They noted that at one point, a server had declined to serve Moran because she appeared too intoxicated.

Rodriguez and husband Carlos have three other children, ranging from age 7 to 21. They miss their oldest girl.

“She was the eldest,” said Rodriguez. “She was the responsible one. I never had to ask her about her homework or tell her not to stay out after curfew. When it was someone’s birthday, she was the first one to send you a text in the morning wishing you a happy birthday. She would get you a gift that was something special.  She would do things without being asked. . . She was not only my daughter, but my best friend and my biggest cheerleader.”

Rodriguez has become active in MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“I go to panels and tell my story to offenders,” she reports. “I volunteer (for MADD) whenever they ask me to, and I’ve spoken at dinners.”

What she finds especially frustrating is that there is no good reason for her daughter to have died in an apparent drunk driving accident:

“This is 100 percent preventable,” she said. “You can make better choices to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else or to you. There are taxi services that will take you. Some are even free.”

Coming up next in Rodriguez’s fight against drunk driving is a fundraising walk for MADD. She’ll be part of team “MADD About Jess” in the “Walk Like MADD” event, October in Sacramento. She’ll help raise money for the anti-drunk driving organization.     Anyone who wants to donate to the effort, or form their own walking team, may visit www.WalkLikeMADD.org.

Marking the spot where Jessica was killed and Rosa was hurt now is a sign that urges people not to drink and drive.

Has all this work prevented someone else from getting killed by a drunk driver?

“I hope so,” answered Rodriguez.

 

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Open house tonight for PG&E street work: company will replace gas lines

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — AUG 20, 2013 —

(Editor’s note: The News-Ledger newspaper expects to have some additional information on this topic in its Aug. 21 edition.)

PG&E has announced it will be working to replace underground natural gas lines in parts of West Sacramento through late November. The company is expecting the work to cause few disruptions in gas service.

Crews will be working to replace pipes under West Capitol Avenue (Northport Drive to Westacre Road), Westacre Road (Merkley Avenue to Jefferson Blvd.), Jefferson Boulevard to 15th Street, and 15th Street to the Sacramento River.

“At times, you may smell gas and hear a loud, steady noise as we vent natural gas from the pipeline using safe and common techniques,” said a PG&E advisory sent to property owners along the route. “Although this is normal when crews are working, we encourage anyone who has concerns about the smell of gas to call us 24 hours a day at 1-800-743-5000.

The work will close one lane in each direction on West Capitol. One lane will be left open at Harbor and West Capitol, reports PG&E, and and traffic will be diverted to one side of the median on West Capitol between Glide and Poplar avenues.

Other lane diversions will take place on Merkley and Jefferson (between Park and 15th) during construction.  A lane will be closed on Jefferson near the freeway. A detour will be available for Westacre Road and West Capitol.

“Although access to some driveways may occasionally be affected,” reported PG&E, “crews can provide access within a few minutes of your request.”

Local motorists are asked to allow a little extra time for their trips during the construction period.

Interested people may attend a project workshop from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at West Sacramento City Hall, 1110 West Capitol Avenue, Galleria rooms 157-160.

 

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Tomatoes again lead Yolo’s cash crops — but can you guess the next top 5?

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 14, 2013 —

From Beth Gabor
County of Yolo

Last week, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors received the 2012 Yolo County Agricultural Report – an annual report which summarizes the acreage, production and gross valuation of all agricultural commodities produced in Yolo County in 2012.  The total gross valuation for all agricultural commodities in 2012 was $645,766,504; an all-time high and an increase of 17.5% from 2011.

“These production figures reflect an overall higher price per unit for commodities and increases in acreage,” said Yolo County Agriculture Commissioner John Young, in a press release.  “Field labor, processing, transporting, marketing and other farm-related services significantly multiply the value agriculture has to our county.  When the multiplier effect of related industries is considered, agriculture contributes well over $1.5 billion to the economy of Yolo County.”

Processing tomatoes remain Yolo County’s lead  ing commodity with a gross value of $111,566,739, up from $106,792,881 in 2011. Although harvested acres were fewer than in 2011, the commodity increased in value due to a slightly increased price for the 2012 cropping season.

Wine grapes, rice, alfalfa hay and walnuts remain in the top five commodities according to gross value, with wine grapes moving to the number two position ahead of rice.  Almonds edged into sixth position in gross value ahead of organic production.  Nevertheless, the gross value of organic production increased by nearly 33% to just over $40,000,000 for 2012.  Field corn, sunflower seed and wheat round out the top ten commodities for 2012.

For more information on the acreage, production and gross valuation of agricultural commodities produced in Yolo County in 2012, visit: www.yolocounty.org > Departments > Agriculture and Weights & Measures) or contact the Yolo County Agriculture Department at (530) 666-8140.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Free food in West Sacramento, Clarksburg

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

The Food Bank of Yolo County will give away free food to eligible West Sacramento and Clarksburg residents on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Distribution times include 9-10 a.m. at the county building, 500 Jefferson Blvd.; 10:30-11:15 a.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1500 Park Blvd.; 11-noon at Yolo Housing Authority, 685 Lighthouse Dr.; and noon to 1 p.m. at the Clarksburg Firehouse. Please bring a bag and attend only one site.

For information, call (530) 668-0690.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013