A man who worked for years as a sergeant with the Pleasanton Police Department is facing a murder charge and other felony counts after authorities allege he was drunk when he caused a fatal collision near Sonora last week.
The Tuolumne County District Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint on Monday charging Theodore W. "Ted" Young in connection with a head-on crash that killed another driver on the highway outside Jamestown on Jan. 18. Rebekah Gall, 27, died at an area hospital as a result of her injuries three days later.
"Our thoughts are with Rebekah's family and our community as we all mourn another senseless tragedy caused by drunk driving," the DA's office said in a statement Monday.
Young, 63, of Sonora has been charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing serious brain injury and serious DUI with a blood alcohol content at or above 0.08% by someone with a prior DUI conviction. Prosecutors say Young pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI in late 2017, less than a year after he left Pleasanton PD.
He appeared in court this Tuesday, but his entry-of-plea was postponed to next month, according to Tuolumne County District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke, who is prosecuting the case.
Young's defense attorney, Clint Parish, has not responded to a request for comment. The defendant remained in Tuolumne County Jail with bail set at $1 million as of Tuesday afternoon.
The former longtime police officer worked more than three decades in law enforcement, including 29 years with the Pleasanton PD. His tenure ended as a police sergeant in December 2016, according to the city's human resources department.
The Sonora-based Union Democrat was the first to report Young's law enforcement history following the serious crash last week.
The collision unfolded at about 5:15 p.m. Jan. 18 when Young's 2016 Toyota pickup was traveling northbound at approximately 45-50 mph on Highway 49/Highway 108 near Chicken Ranch Road outside Jamestown, according to the California Highway Patrol's Sonora office.
The CHP alleges Young allowed his truck to drift to the left and across the double-yellow lines directly into the path of an oncoming 2015 Acura sedan driven by Gall. The two vehicles collided at highway speeds and Gall sustained major injuries.
Gall, a Modesto native who was living in nearby Oakdale with her husband and worked for the Tuolumne County government according to her Facebook account, was airlifted from the scene to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. She succumbed to her injuries at 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 21, according to CHP-Sonora Officer Steve Machado.
Young, who was uninjured, was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the crash on Jan. 18 on suspicion of felony DUI causing serious injury and was released from Tuolumne County Jail after posting bail soon after being booked, authorities said.
CHP officers then sought an additional arrest warrant for murder over the weekend after Gall died at the hospital and arrested Young again at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Machado said.
The DA's office advanced the charges by filing a criminal complaint against Young in Tuolumne County Superior Court on Monday with four felony counts, including murder, as well as two special enhancements for inflicting brain injury and for having a prior DUI within the past 10 years. Prosecutors say Young was convicted of misdemeanor DUI for a September 2017 incident in Sonora.
Jenecke confirmed that Young's arraignment and entry-of-plea hearing was continued to mid-February.
A policeman with more than 30 years of experience, Young was employed with Pleasanton PD from 1987 to 2016 first as an officer and later as a sergeant.
He worked a range of assignments with the department, including time with the narcotics division and the D.A.R.E. drug abuse education program in local schools. During his tenure, he was also half of a well-regarded police couple within the department; his now-former spouse still holds an upper management position at Pleasanton PD.
Xaviera Scoggins, human resources manager for the city, confirmed Young's last day as a police sergeant in Pleasanton was in December 2016 but declined to elaborate on the reason for Young's departure, saying, "Our standard practice is to provide dates of employment and position held with the city." The Union Democrat, citing a CHP-Sonora source, reported Young's exit was a retirement.
Pleasanton police officials declined to comment on Young's tenure and arrest, deferring to the city's human resources department.
Young's long public employment career also included time with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department.