Almanac

News - October 5, 2011

Murder charge in other fatal crash

A driver who struck and killed a motorcyclist in East Palo Alto on Sept. 28 while fleeing police will be charged with murder, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Eric Banford, a 46-year-old East Palo Alto resident, will be charged with second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter, felony evading a police officer and felony hit-and-run, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Mr. Banford has two prior strikes for felony convictions. He was convicted of manslaughter in 1991, and of robbery in 1987, Mr. Wagstaffe said.

The murder charge is justified, in part, Mr. Wagstaffe said, by the fact that he was allegedly using drugs at the time of the crash, which killed 50-year-old East Palo Alto resident Danny Lee Dixon.

Mr. Banford was allegedly trying to evade police when the Land Rover he was driving struck Mr. Dixon's motorcycle at Bay Road and University Avenue at 5:25 a.m., according to police. Mr. Dixon was declared dead at the scene.

The incident was the first of two fatal crashes in East Palo Alto on Sept. 28. Sioreli Torres, 6, was struck and killed in a crosswalk on Bay Road at Gloria Way shortly after 8 a.m. by a car driven by teacher Alisha Whiteparker.

Mr. Wagstaffe said police were still investigating that incident, and would turn it over to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office for review to determine if any charges were appropriate.

— Bay City News Service

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