A judge refused to raise the $250,000 bail of a Stanford Business School student facing vehicular manslaughter charges related to a fatal wrong-way crash on Highway 101 in South San Francisco last month.
Prosecutors wanted Zachary A. Katz, who is out on the bond, held on $1 million instead but Judge Stephen Hall denied the motion.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said they sought the increase because, while $250,000 was appropriate when Katz was arrested, he was actually charged with several more crimes which made $1 million within the bail schedule.
Defense attorney Geoff Carr saw the situation slightly differently.
“The family scrambled to come up with a quarter of a million dollars and when they did that’s when the DA wanted to make it more,” Carr said.
Katz, 24, is charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter and two counts of felony drunk driving causing great bodily injury in connection with the Oct. 5 crash that killed 62-year-old Pedro Juan Soldevilla of Puerto Rico. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Feb. 28 with an one-hour estimate.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Katz had a blood alcohol content of around .15 when he drove the wrong way onto southbound Highway 101 near Sierra Point Parkway at 3:50 a.m.
He crashed into an SUV taxi, which veered across several lanes and was struck by a Mazda, the CHP said.
Soldevilla, who had been a passenger in the cab, was ejected and died at the scene. Another passenger and the taxi driver were seriously injured, the CHP said.
The driver of the Mazda was not injured.
Katz suffered several broken bones and was hospitalized for four days before he was arrested and booked at San Mateo County Jail.
Katz feels “horrible” about the situation, Carr said.
Carr further said how Katz ended up in the wrong direction of traffic is a mystery, particularly because his blood alcohol level wasn’t as high as one would assume necessary for that turn of events.
“There are a lot of things we need to look at,” he said.
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