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Los Gatos: 2 drivers charged with vehicular manslaughter in fata

The San Jose Mercury News: Los Gatos: 2 drivers charged with vehicular manslaughter in fatal crashes

By Mark Gomez mgomez@mercurynews.com
Posted: 02/03/2010 12:29:27 PM PST
Updated: 02/03/2010 12:29:29 PM PST

The drivers who police say were responsible for the deaths of a cyclist and passenger in separate Los Gatos collisions have each been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Timothy Priolo, 23, of San Jose is also facing charges of eluding a pursuing officer and causing the death of another person and driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to the district attorney’s office.
Kevin Derr, 50, of San Jose is facing just the one charge of vehicular manslaughter, according to the district attorney’s office.

Priolo and Derr are scheduled to be arraigned today at 2 p.m.

Monday morning, Derr was driving a Chevrolet Blazer when he struck and killed 28-year-old bicyclist Joshua West, according to police. Derr was arrested and admitted to the custody ward of Valley Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries he suffered after his sport-utility vehicle rolled over on Lark Avenue.

West had just dropped off his 7-year-old daughter at school and was riding his bicycle on Lark Avenue when he was struck by the SUV about 8:50 a.m., according to police. Sgt. Kerry Harris said some witnesses told police it looked as though Derr was trying to beat slow-moving traffic on Lark Avenue and may have been driving at least 50 mph when he jumped the curb and crashed into West on the sidewalk. The speed limit there is 30 mph.

The first fatal collision happened early Sunday morning in downtown Los Gatos after a Ford Mustang driven by Priolo hit a tree and two poles at the intersection of Los Gatos Boulevard and Nino Avenue, according to police. The person sitting in the front passenger seat, 23-year-old Aaron Vega of San Jose, died at the scene, according to police.

Witnesses had seen the Mustang speeding on Main Street toward Los Gatos Boulevard shortly before 2 a.m., Harris said. He said Priolo might have hit a traffic island, sending the car into the air.