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Teen Driver Pleads Not Guilty in Manslaughter

Seventeen-year-old appears in Martinez courtroom in case involving death of bike-riding father and daughter after April accident on Treat Boulevard, Concord.

Bay City News Service

A teen driver accused of killing a father and his 9-year old daughter as they went on a morning bike ride in Concord in April appeared in juvenile court for the first time Friday morning and pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter charges.

The 17-year-old defendant entered the plea in a Martinez courtroom Friday morning in connection with the deaths of Concord resident Solaiman Nuri, 41, and his daughter Hadessa in a collision at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 7, on Treat Boulevard.

The defendant was charged with two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence as well as a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving causing bodily injury for allegedly hitting and injuring Hadessa's sister, 12-year-old Hannah Nuri, that morning.

The teen also pleaded not guilty Friday to two unrelated misdemeanor charges of alcohol possession and possession of a switchblade butterfly knife in connection with incidents in Walnut Creek in March.

Contra Costa County prosecutors filed the charges in late July after a lengthy police investigation, Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Cabral said. Friday morning's plea entry comes more than four months after the fatal collision.

Police said the defendant was speeding down Treat Boulevard in his Escalade SUV when he struck the father and his two daughters as they rode their bicycles. Solaiman Nuri died at the scene and Hadessa succumbed to her injuries at John Muir Medical Center a short time later. Hannah suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Stoorai Nuri, the widow of Solaiman Nuri and Hannah and Hadessa's mother, sobbed as she heard the charges read in juvenile court Friday morning.

"I lost two loved ones — it's not going to bring them back," she told reporters, choking back sobs outside the courtroom. "I just want justice."

Michael Cardoza, an attorney for the Nuri family, said the defendant has not shown any remorse or reached out to the family since the fatal collision. Cardoza said the family had hoped the 17-year-old would be tried as an adult or at least jailed.

The defendant, who sat next to his attorney Peter Coleridge in court Friday, is out of custody and living with his parents in Concord.

Juvenile Court Judge Lois Haight said Friday morning that the teen is not in custody because the case was not charged in a timely manner.

Under state law, a juvenile must be charged with a felony within 48 hours to be jailed, prosecutors said.

"I think he's a dangerous person," Haight said of the defendant.

The judge asked the defendant's parents, who were present in court this morning, if their son has been on good behavior at home and whether he has a curfew. The pair said their son has a 10 p.m. curfew and has not been driving.

The judge said the teenager is not allowed to drive anything motorized other than a lawnmower and is forbidden from possessing alcohol, drugs or weapons.

The teen is set to return to juvenile court in Martinez at 9 a.m. on Sept. 7 for a pre-trial hearing.

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Patt August 25, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Since this "minor" did not have insurance, aren't his parents now responsible for his actions and on the hook to the Nuri family for compendation? I hope so! I am so sorry for the Nuri family's loss and hope that they find justice in civil court.
krazy4kona August 26, 2012 at 05:56 PM
How many get by without insurance on their car? The news said he was stopped and warned about driving too fast by the police....Why was he allowed to even drive home after the stops without insurance? He evidently has been in trouble before and will probably get a slap on the hand by our justice system and continue to believe he can do "what ever" and go home smiling.....I can assure you that "IF" I didn't have insurance on car that I couldn't register it as you have to send proof of insurance each time you mail in your renewal ...sooooo....how did he do this?
The Merry One August 26, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Unfortunately, by now the driver's parents have had plenty of time to hide their assets and, from what we know of their parenting skills, there wasn't a second thought given to the ethics or legality of this action. My heart goes out to the Nuri Family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
anon August 27, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Well said on all points.
Anon Concord August 28, 2012 at 02:20 AM
How do you let your child drive without insurance? How do you let him out after he is busted for drugs, alochol and weapons. These parents should pay for there ignorance and the fact that they turned a blind eye to there childs HORRIBLE and reckless behavior. No amount of justice is going to bring back these victims but making sure it doesn't happen again is vital. Parents YOUR KIDS ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY STOP PASSING HE BUCK

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