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‘It’s a wake-up call’: manslaughter charge in bizarre Tesla case

Hello and welcome to Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, January 20. I am Justin Ray.

For some, self-driving cars are seen as the future of the automobile.

Not only do they seem more convenient, but by removing the possibility of human error, they can potentially save lives. As Americans spent less time in their vehicles in 2020 due to the pandemic, an estimated 38,680 people died in crashes, “the highest predicted number of fatalities since 2007,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. of the US Department of Transportation. reported.

Unfortunately, it looks like we can’t rely on self-driving cars just yet, a concern a 2019 incident in Gardena highlights.

The crash

On December 29, 2019, a Honda Civic stopped at an intersection in Gardena. The light was green. As the car moved forward, a 2016 Tesla Model S on autopilot came off a freeway, ran a red light and crashed into the Civic.

The driver of the Civic, Gilberto Alcazar Lopez, and his passenger, Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez, were killed instantly. Almost two years later, prosecutors Los Angeles County filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against Tesla driver Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27.

Riad, who works as a limousine service driver, has pleaded not guilty and is out on bail while the case is pending. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment to The Times on Tuesday.


Experts believe this is the first criminal prosecution in the United States against a driver accused of causing death using a partially automated driver assistance system. As such, the box represents a milestone in the increasingly confusing world of automated driving.

“This is a red flag for drivers,” Alain Kornhauser, director of the self-driving car program at Princeton University, told The Times. “It certainly makes us, all of a sudden, not become so complacent about using these things that we forget the fact that we are solely responsible – not only for our own safety but for the safety of others. ”

Tesla is of course owned by Elon Musk, who has a beef with the Golden State. A representative for the company, which notoriously disbanded its media relations department, could not be reached for comment, the Times reported.

There are other Tesla incidents under review.

And now, Here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

As California continues to see concerning increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, there are some early signs that the unprecedented wave of Omicron is slowing. The change is uneven across the state, but the numbers suggest California could peak in the latest surge. Here’s what the numbers show in various areas of the state. Los Angeles Times

Echo Park’s Lyndsey Marko takes a free COVID-19 PCR test at Echo Park on Tuesday.

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)


Column: Dear Karen Bass and others, LA needs a real plan for the homeless that we’ve never heard of before. After 20 years in office as alderman and mayor, Eric Garcetti will soon leave City Hall in America’s homelessness capital. Out of the gates and leading the pack to replace him are Rep. Karen Bass, City Councilors Kevin De León and Joe Buscaino, and City Atty. Mike Feuer, among others. Low rolled out a plan which calls for housing 15,000 people in its first year in office. But, says Steve Lopez of The Times, we’ve heard it all before. “Perhaps Bass would actually be a more decisive leader, but the bar hasn’t been set particularly high,” writes Lopez. “In the interest of the homeless and the housed, 2022 must be the year when we do better.” Los Angeles Times

Rep. Karen Bass speaks to supporters at the Los Angeles Trade Tech College.

Rep. Karen Bass speaks to Los Angeles Trade Tech College supporters at her mayoral campaign launch.

(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles Times)

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As Jamal Simmons took over as communications director from Vice President Kamala Harris, his old tweets began making the rounds on social media. Shortly after news agencies published stories about Simmons’ nomination on Jan. 6, Twitter erupted. Many on the left have accused Simmons of advocating for the illegal arrest of immigrants in the United States. Meanwhile, some on the right have praised him. Los Angeles Times

Jamal Simmons speaks on stage

Jamal Simmons speaks onstage during the Elections 2016: The Wild Ride to the White House panel on the Times Center Stage during New York City Ad Week 2016 on September 27, 2016 in New York City.

(John Lamparski/Getty Images for New York Ad Week)

One man’s lonely journey through California’s plan to end homelessness. Jackie Botts writes this terrific and captivating article about a man named Fernando Maya, whose life was changed by California’s pandemic response to housing people in the state. “Thanks to Project Roomkey, the statewide effort to get vulnerable and elderly people off the streets, he received the keys to his own hotel room in June. Later, Maya would credit the program — and Governor Gavin Newsom — with ending her homelessness,” Botts writes. Cal Matters


Fresno County Sheriff’s Detectives recovered the body of Missy Hernandez, the 30-something who had been missing since December. His body was found in an aqueduct. Authorities say detectives used digital evidence to identify multiple locations to search for her. “There really has been no relief and closure for our staff, but also for Missy’s family,” Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said. ABC30


As Omicron grows, California students demand more of adults. One of the most frustrating parts of the pandemic has been the inconsistent messaging from public health agencies. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to local and county agencies, ever-changing policies have led to fatigue. This has been particularly infuriating for those in school, and California students demand better from adults. “We currently have over 400 (COVID) cases on our campus, and no one seems to care,” Sam Miller, a junior at Redondo Union High School, told the school newspaper. “People don’t wear their masks properly. They don’t wear the right masks. Capital and principal


Nearly a third of Asian Americans in the San Gabriel Valley said they or their family members had experienced anti-Asian hatred during the COVID-19 pandemic, with most incidents involving verbal attacks, a new survey has revealed. Nearly half of those surveyed said they felt less safe than before the pandemic, and the majority said they were more “vigilant and defensive” when leaving their homes, according to the survey released Wednesday by l ‘Asian Youth Center and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angels. Los Angeles Times

Jen Ho Lee, a 76-year-old South Korean immigrant, in her Los Angeles apartment.

Jen Ho Lee, a 76-year-old South Korean immigrant, in her Los Angeles apartment.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Well that’s impressive! A high school student from Davis, California got a perfect score on his SAT exam. Apurva Mishra’s father called TV station KCRA when the results came in (my favorite detail of the story), ecstatic that his son had scored a 1600, putting him in the country’s 99th percentile among the candidates. “It was a really surprising thing for me because I didn’t know I would be able to perform like that,” said Mishra, 17. “I wanted to get there and I got there, and it was the most amazing thing for me.” KCRA

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Los Angeles: Sunny, 75 San Diego: Sunny 70 San Francisco: 61 San Jose: Sunny 66 Fresno: Covered 64 Sacrament: Covered 61


Today california memory is of Donna Peterson:

In 1962, at the age of 6, I walked with my sister (7) and friends across the street (12 and 13) to the beach for the day. We lived on Ukiah Street in Oxnard, and with no money, no water, no car, no cell phone, we spent the day on the beach at Strand, then walked home.

If you have a memory or a story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)

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