Witnesses sought in crash
The investigation into a crash that killed an entire Olivehurst family last weekend will take months to complete, even though the driver who allegedly caused the accident admitted drinking alcohol before the incident, authorities said.
Bradley Charles Bledsoe, 28, of Linda, who allegedly rammed into an SUV carrying the Negrete family of Olivehurst on Saturday, faces six charges of second-degree murder, six counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence with previous DUI convictions, as well as other charges. He faces up to 90 years in prison if convicted.
In an interview with California Highway Patrol investigators, Bledsoe admitted being the driver who caused the fatal crash and having alcohol before the accident, Yuba County Superior Court records said.
Killed in the crash on southbound Highway 70 near Feather River Boulevard were Tomas and Maribel Negrete, both 28, and their children, Eric Negrete, 3, and Cesar Negrete, 6 months, and Maria Veronica Raya, 63, and Jose Raya, 65,
The CHP is continuing its investigation and wants help from the public, said spokesman Jeff Larson.
A number of people who tried to report the accident did not give their names and phone numbers. Investigators would like to speak to them.
Specifically, CHP officers want to hear from two unidentified females. The local CHP hea number is 674-5141.
“Fatal accidents in general require complex investigation. When you get a such a tragic collision such as this, we want to be sure we leave no stone unturned,” said Larson. “We gather all the evidence, and we do a thorough and complete investigation.”
Bledsoe has a history of driving violations and other cases dating back to 1998, according to court records.
Most of the violations were either minor traffic infractions or misdemeanors. Most were dismissed as part of plea agreements.
But Bledsoe has three drunken-driving convictions in Yuba, Sutter and Glenn counties. He also has a felony conviction for sale of marijuana, according to court records.
A check with the Department of Motor Vehicles this week revealed Bledsoe's driver's license expired in 1998. But he continued to drive, receiving five license suspensions before his license was revoked in January for three years.
Two of those suspensions were for having an excessive blood alcohol level, according to the DMV.
According to California law, motorists can receive three DUI convictions in seven years before the violations become a felony, said Yuba County Deputy District Attorney Brad Enos.
A DUI becomes a felony when someone is injured in an accident, said Enos, who vowed to vigilantly prosecute Bledsoe.
“You get behind the wheel (intoxicated) and bad things happen,” Enos said. “This is what happens when people drive in excess of the speed and not pay attention.”
The accident surprised and saddened Michelle Minaga of Colorado, who as a teenager once lived with Bledsoe when he was also a teen. Her father and Bledsoe's grandmother lived together years ago, she said.
She felt badly for the Negrete family, but she also feels bad for Bledsoe, she said.
“He would never intentionally hurt anybody,” Minaga said. “He isn't a horrible individual. He is a caring person.”
But she said Bledsoe was a different person around his friends.
If Bledsoe had gotten away from Yuba County at a younger age, the accident might not have occurred, Minaga said. She was on the same track, she admits, but said things turned out differently for her.
“The only answer I could come up with is that I moved out of the Yuba County area,” Minaga said. “There is not any structural program to help the neglected, troubled children in that area. These children grow up not knowing any other type of lifestyle.”
She lamented the accident and how it will change everyone's lives.
“I feel bad that his life is over,” Minaga said. “I think he got sucked into their (his friends') lives, and he never came out of it.”
SERVICES FOR NEGRETE FAMILY
and C streets, Marysville
BRADLEY BLEDSOE'S LEGAL HISTORY
Bradley Charles Bledsoe has a long history of infractions in Yuba County ranging from not having flaps on his vehicle to misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and drug charges. Below are his drunken driving convictions in California, as well as a felony conviction in Yuba County:
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Bledsoe's driver's license was suspended five times before it was revoked for a three-year period in January this year. His driver's license expired Aug. 28, 1998, and was never renewed.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Witter can be reached at 749-4712. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.