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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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Steve Bond August 24, 2012 at 07:34 PM
This is revolting. Anyone wanna lay odds he cracked a smirk during the proceedings? Our justice system has no concept of justice in this matter.
anon August 24, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Should be charged as adult. Also understand he was uninsured. It wont bring back the dead, but this family should loose everything they have fir being so irresponsible as to let him drive without insurance. Michael cardoza...do your best!
Anon August 24, 2012 at 08:25 PM
You seem to have cited the last name of the accused juvenile several times. While I certainly feel from the information unearthed thus far that the entire community is endandered by this individual, I don't think you should be disclosing the name of juvenile offenders unless they are being tried as adults.
anon August 24, 2012 at 08:41 PM
anon Revolting - try this horrible kid person as an adult. He was busted in March for possession of alcohol - hello! Our justice system has no concept of justice, none at all.
Kendra August 24, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Hey Anon, Umm.....the last name of the offender has been in the news since the day of the accident. It isn't a secret. From this point on, I hope they continue to use his first, middle and last name in all articles.
David Mills (Editor) August 24, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Hi, Anon: The defendant's last name was accidentally left in the story in two places. We have taken it out for now. We are having a discussion later today about whether to name the defendant or not. Other media outlets have done so already.
Bob Brittain August 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Hey Anon, This horse has already left the corral. And why should an anonymous person control the outcome?
David Mills (Editor) August 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Anon and others: We have decided to not name the defendant as he is in juvenile court. More on that and a discussion of the issue of naming juvenile defendants on this site on Monday. Hope you'll join in then.
Kathy D August 25, 2012 at 02:58 PM
No insurance? Doesn't one have to have proof of insurance to register their vehicle? I seem to recall that's a state law. I know I pay my premiums every freakin' month. If you can afford an Escalade you should be able to afford insurance. Not that money will bring back the deceased, but the family could use some help, I'm sure, since they have medical bills and have lost a wage earner. This punk should be tried as an adult. The ADA hinted, on the news, that there was some reason. The bozo that stole Guy Fieri's car (and committed all sorts of other crimes) was a juvenile and he's being tried as an adult! He didn't kill anyone, either.
Stephen Fredricks August 25, 2012 at 04:34 PM
This poor lady is off to a bad start concerning justice, I'm appalled by the mishandling of the 48 hour deadline to charge the kid, I'm appalled that he's not being tried as an adult, I'm appalled the kid is at home when he should be in jail awaiting trial, I'm appalled his parents are not being held responsible for his actions and for willfully letting their son drive without insurance, and I'm appalled they didn't impose any restrictions after he was busted for alcohol possession and the possession of an illegal weapon apparently used in the commission of a crime the month before the manslaughter incident (this was no accident). My gut feeling is the outcome of this case for Ms Nuri will fall short of what she deserves. I hope a Wrongful Death Civil Suit has been filed against the kid's parents, this is one of the consequences if the 17 year old murderer isn't going to be tried as an adult. Unfortunately, a Civil Suit doesn't come close to the justice entitled to Ms. Nuri.
Shirley Sprague August 25, 2012 at 04:40 PM
The Concord police department messed this case up bigtime. This jerk is still on the loose.
srl99 August 25, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Public opinion goes a long way to the prosector's office deciding how to handle a case. By all means make your opinions known directly to the prosecutor's office. For a bigger splash (help) get Kamala Harris involved - she's not one to shy away from some media exposure.
srl99 August 25, 2012 at 05:01 PM
There are plenty of contingency lawyers prowling the news. Rest assured there have been multiple offers of representation for the victim's family, assuming there are any assets they think they can lay their hands on.
myra adams August 25, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I agree! if you can't afford insurance you can't afford to drive let alone KILL two people because you only care about yourself!
JClark927 August 25, 2012 at 08:43 PM
This is a terrible situation and it appears that the defendant is a reckless person with disregard for others who deserves maximum penalty. That said, I am always astounded by enthusiasm for the "try as an adult" approach. To my mind it is a bizarre suspension of reality. I don't understand how it is even legal. Fact: this person is not an adult. Process: let's ignore that. My understanding is that this method has its roots in gangs using juveniles for serious crime because penalties are less for minors. Even with that wicked background, I would rather have a system that (1) removed juveniles from their past environment (I mean material geographic separation plus isolation from past relationships) and (2) allowed the pursuit of responsible adults in special circumstances. Curious to hear the thoughts of those who support trying as adult or who understand how it is legal. (I am sure it has been tested.)
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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