California Court of Appeals, First District, Third Division
Superior Court of Solano County No. FCR306272 Wendy G. Getty,
J. Trial Judge.
Office of Victor Blumenkrantz and Victor Blumenkrantz for
Defendant and Appellant.
Becerra, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant
Attorney General, Jeffrey M. Laurence, Assistant Attorney
General, René A. Chacón and Bruce Ortega,
Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Anosh Kumar (defendant) appeals from a judgment entered after
a jury found him guilty of vehicular manslaughter with gross
negligence (Pen. Code, § 192, subd.
(c)(1)) and the trial court sentenced him to
two years in prison. He contends the court prejudicially
erred by giving “confusing and conflicting
instructions” on the mental state required for the
charged offense and lesser included offense and by failing to
define “criminal negligence, ” a term the court
used in those instructions. We reject his contentions and
affirm the judgment.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
December 1, 2014, an information was filed charging defendant
and codefendant Lawan Lee Harper with vehicular manslaughter
with gross negligence (§ 192, subd. (c)(1)).
about 7:00 p.m. on February 25, 2014, witness Thong V. was at
a red light waiting to merge onto Air Base Parkway in
Fairfield, California, when he saw a Nissan and a
Mitsubishi stopped at the same light with their
engines “revving.” When the light turned green,
the Nissan's tires began spinning and the cars
“took off, ” “speeding really fast”;
it was “basically a race.”
Thong V. drove around a bend, he saw the headlights of a
Cadillac that was stopped at a left-turn lane from which cars
can make a left turn into a business known as Pick-n-Pull. As
the Cadillac, with its left-turn signal on, began to turn
left at a “regular” turning speed of about 5 to
10 miles per hour, the brake lights lit up on the Nissan and
Mitsubishi and there were braking sounds coming from those
cars. From about 20 feet away, Thong V. saw the Mitsubishi
avoid hitting the Cadillac and the Nissan
“T-bone” the Cadillac, sending the Cadillac 20
to 30 yards down the road. The Nissan fell into a ditch.
Thong V. and others helped pull the driver of the
Nissan-defendant-out of his car. The Mitsubishi's driver,
codefendant Harper, stopped and checked on the Nissan, stayed
for a minute or two, then “took off.”
V. also witnessed the Nissan and Mitsubishi racing when he
was driving with his 19-year-old son Lucas V. as his
passenger. He saw the Nissan cut in front of the Mitsubishi
and the cars “jockeying into position”; he said
to his son, “ ‘They are going to race.'
” The cars were “ ‘aggressive and
maneuvering around traffic' ” and their engines
were revving as they came to a stop at a red light.
as the light turned green, the cars “haul[ed]
butt” and drove off. Enrique V. lost sight of the cars
but heard an impact. As he continued to drive, “all you
saw was smoke” and “debris up ahead.” He
saw the Nissan “off the road, ” and he and his
son went to aid the driver of the Cadillac.
V. also heard “revving” from the Nissan and
Mitsubishi and saw the cars drive off, rapidly accelerate,
and “get further away from us” at about 80 to
85 miles per hour. When Lucas V. and his father reached the
next intersection, the two cars were stopped at another red
light and there was “[m]ore revving coming from both
cars.” The Nissan began “jerking forward a little
bit, almost like they do in... drag-racing style.” When
the light turned green, the two cars accelerated away at an
estimated 90 to 95 miles per hour.
V. lost sight of the Mitsubishi and Nissan when the cars went
around a curve. When his father also drove around that curve,
Lucas V. saw glass and other debris in the road, the Nissan
in a ditch, and a Cadillac stopped on the shoulder of the
road. The “whole right side of the [Cadillac was]
destroyed” to the point where “[t]he full right
side of the car was in the center of the car
basically.” Lucas V. and his father assisted the driver
of the Cadillac, Quincy Jones, who was bleeding and was
“completely unconscious.” Lucas V. squeezed
Jones's hand and let him know that people were there to
help, but there was no response. The parties stipulated that
the driver of the Cadillac, “Quincy Jones[, ] was
killed [as a] result of blunt-force-chest injury due to the
motor vehicle collision....”
Kenneth A., a long-time auto mechanic who used to work at a
race track, was working on a truck by the Pick-n-Pull when he
heard two cars accelerating. He looked up and saw the
cars' headlights coming around the end of a curve of Air
Base Parkway about 1, 000 yards from where he stood. Based on
what he saw, he assumed the cars were racing.
100 yards away, Kenneth A. saw the headlights of a Cadillac
stopped in the left-turn lane, waiting to make a left turn.
As he looked down for “a split second, ” Kenneth
A. “heard a big, loud bang” and saw “the
two cars sliding. And lights and glass and coolant going
everywhere.” He estimated the speeding cars were
traveling “close to 130, 150” miles per hour,
“right in that area. Way up there.” He opined the
cars were going at least 100 miles per hour based on his
training and experience working with cars, the “full
throttle” or “open throttle” noises he
heard, the fact that the cars were “accelerating and
moving at a much faster pace than regular, freeway traffic,
” and the fact that he heard the explosion in “a
blink of the eye” as he looked away for “a split
Kaiwanna A. was driving on Air Base Parkway at 45 to 50 miles
per hour when the Nissan and Mitsubishi flew by him at a high
rate of speed. He also testified that the cars were revving
their engines and described how the cars drove off quickly
and erratically as if “they were drag racing.” He
said he saw ...