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Posted: Friday, July 30, 2004 10:00 pm

Police won't seek charges in fatal crash

Lodi police will not ask the District Attorney's Office to file charges against a man involved in a February accident that killed two Acampo residents.

On Feb. 5, Jerald Lee Roberts had just exited Highway 99 and was driving a Salvation Army truck south on Cherokee Lane when a pick-up truck pulled out from Pioneer Drive.

The pick-up's passenger, Howard Blair Klein Jr., 52, died that day. His mother, 72-year-old Agnes Bell Klein, 72, was taken to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she died three weeks later. Roberts was not injured.

After a lengthy investigation, police determined that Roberts was not speeding or driving recklessly and that his vehicle did not have any mechanical problems, Motor Officer Larry Vietz said Friday. The accident happened because Agnes Klein pulled out in front of the truck, he said.

A month after the crash, officials with the California Department of Transportation decided to install another stop sign at the intersection for southbound Cherokee Lane traffic. Until then, only eastbound and westbound traffic had stop signs.

Since then, police have been called to additional accidents at the intersection, though none have been fatal.

"It's a tricky intersection. You just have to be paying attention," Vietz said.

Police find covered bus stop in man's back yard

It's not often that police find a bus stop in someone's back yard, but that's what happened Friday when officers were called to the residence to investigate a former city employee.

Matthew Dean Delker, 35, was under investigation for allegedly stealing electrical utilities and had been warned not to do it, said Lodi police Lt. Bill Barry. When Delker reportedly bypassed a meter and continued to use electricity, police were called in.

While at the home in the 300 block of Elgin Avenue, officers noticed a U-Haul full of items Delker was planning to move. Inside it, city utilities employees at the scene saw a pressure washer and several other items that had allegedly been stolen from a city yard several months earlier, Barry said.

When officers got to the back yard, they found a covered bus shelter that was apparently serving as a makeshift covered patio, Barry said.

Delker had been employed as a Municipal Services Center employee until six or seven months ago when he stopped coming to work. It at the municipal yard at 1331 S. Ham Lane that someone apparently loaded up a city truck full of equipment and made off with it, Barry said.

Delker was arrested on suspicion of electricity theft and possession of stolen property, and detectives were still investigating the case Friday evening.

Man to stand trial for allegedly molesting girl

A Lodi man was ordered Thursday to stand trial on charges of molesting a girl he befriended.

The ruling came after a preliminary hearing for Dwayne Pekarek, 48, and he will be arraigned in Stockton court Aug. 12, according to court records.

Pekarek allegedly befriended the granddaughter of a neighbor when she was about 12 and then molested her, prosecutors said. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of lewd acts on a child and one count of forcible oral copulation.

Pekarek, who has a number of other court cases including charges of violating probation from previous drunk-driving convictions, is being held in the San Joaquin County Jail without bail.

Tokay High Band to hold car wash today

Tokay Marching Band will hold a car wash today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the corner of Hutchins Street and Kettleman Lane. Donations will support the band program at Tokay High School.

For more information, call Manina Moles 369-8182.

West Nile virus to be discussed Monday

David Brown, manager of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, will discuss the West Nile Virus and mosquito control at Monday's Galt City Council meeting.

The council will consider closing Fourth Street between B and C streets for a first-ever Oktoberfest celebration and vintage Volkswagen show on Sept. 25. Plans call for the celebration to include authentic German dancers and food in the Estrellita Ballroom on C Street.

In other action, the City Council will consider:

• A task order to design a well and water treatment plant at the industrial park.

• Authorizing Kar Mart, Inc., to use Galt Market Thursday through Sunday from Aug. 12 to Nov. 14 to sell vehicles when the flea market is not in operation.

• Survey format and questions for second community survey for the new general plan, which will focus on the proposed Del Webb senior complex on Twin Cities Road and freeway commercial off Highway 99 from Twin Cities to Arno roads.

• Awarding a contract to expand the Carillion water treatment plant for $1.4 million.

The City Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Monday - one day earlier than the usual day so that the council and other city officials can participate in National Night Out on Tuesday. The meeting will be at City Hall, 380 Civic Drive.

Criminal charges filed against local attorney

A local attorney is among three the Yolo County District Attorney's Office has filed criminal charges against. Three defense attorneys allegedly revealed the names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses or victims to their criminal clients, two of whom are charged with murder.

Charles Pacheco, an attorney with offices in Stockton and Sacramento, is representing Lodi resident Joel Angel Magana, 19, who is charged in the March 2003 shooting deaths of a Lodi couple. A jury trial in that case is set to begin in mid-August.

Steve Mount, who is in charge of misdemeanors at the District Attorney's Office, said the office is simply enforcing the law.

The 14-year-old law, which says defense attorneys must cross out the addresses and phone numbers of witnesses in documents they present to criminal suspects, is not commonly prosecuted, said George Harris, a visiting professor at McGeorge School of Law.

On July 8, the District Attorney's Office filed 15 counts of unlawfully disclosing information to a criminal defendant against Pacheco. Pacheco's client, not involved in the murder case, was accused of molesting his stepson.

Pacheco said he dropped the case when his client insulted his wife, who had also worked on the case and who recently died.

Pacheco said the District Attorney's Office is prosecuting him because the defendant wrote a letter to a nephew in Southern California, using an address that Pacheco had given to him.

Pacheco said he's angry that the district attorney has gone after him for a negligent act, rather than a willful offense.

"I tell you what it does, it makes me fight harder (and) want to dig in," he said.

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Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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