Shooting, collision keep Lodi police busy in new year

A car hit a parked vehicle on Ham Lane south of Lodi Avenue on Saturday, Jan 2, 2021. (Bea Ahbeck/News-Sentinel)

Lodi Police Department officers began 2021 by investigating a shooting on the city’s east side.

Police were called to the area of North Garfield Street and Railroad Avenue at about 3:07 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 1 on the report of a drive-by shooting.

A 48-year-old man was struck in the hand, and a 27-year-old woman was shot in the leg, police said. Both were taken to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. An investigation is ongoing, police said.

The following day, officers responded to a vehicle collision in the area of North Ham Lane and Oak Street at about 2:42 p.m.

Lt. Matt Latino said a 60-year-old man was driving on Ham Lane, and for unknown reasons, lost consciousness and veered across the center divide of the road.

“He then drove across the sidewalk and through several yards,” Latino said. “The whole thing ended when he broadsided a truck parked in a driveway.”

The driver was taken to an area hospital. Family members identified him as Frank Benites, and said he suffered a heart attack behind the wheel. He died some time after the accident, the family said.

No other people were hurt during the incident.

On Dec. 31, police arrested 76-year-old Daniel Niehaus on suspicion of child pornography. In a Facebook post created that afternoon, police said detectives regularly follow up on tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and make arrests based on those leads.

According to a Facebook page for Niehaus, he is a former language arts teacher at the Stockton Unified School District.

It is unknown when Niehaus will appear before a judge, as there is no record of a scheduled court appearance on the San Joaquin County Superior Court website.

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