Man charged with murder in crash that killed Calif. officer

Prosecutors said Mohammed Abraar Ali was driving at 120 mph when he slammed his car into a CHP cruiser


By Evan Sernoffsky
San Frnacisco Chronicle

HAYWARD, Calif. — A 22-year-old Hayward man was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder as well as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol in the Christmas Eve crash that killed a California Highway Patrol officer and injured his partner.

Prosecutors said Mohammed Abraar Ali was driving at 120 mph when he swerved and slammed his red Cadillac CTS-V into a CHP cruiser occupied by Officers Andrew Camilleri and Jonathan Velasquez, who were on patrol for intoxicated drivers and were parked on the Winton Avenue on-ramp to Interstate 880 in Hayward.

A black band covers the badge of California Highway Patrol Officer Jonathan Velazquez as he is comforted following a bell ringing ceremony held for CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri Sr., at the highway patrol academy Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in West Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A black band covers the badge of California Highway Patrol Officer Jonathan Velazquez as he is comforted following a bell ringing ceremony held for CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri Sr., at the highway patrol academy Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in West Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Camilleri, a married father of three who had graduated from the CHP academy in March, was killed. Velasquez was injured, but has since been released from a hospital. Ali remains hospitalized with undisclosed injuries at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. The CHP anticipates he will be released in the coming days and transferred to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Ali faces five felony counts, including second-degree murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and recklessly driving at speeds over 100 mph, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said.

O’Malley and CHP Chief Ernie Sanchez announced the charges at a news conference Tuesday. In a statement of probable cause accompanying the charging documents, CHP Officer Joshua Hughes wrote that before the 11:30 p.m. crash Ali “was witnessed driving at a high rate of speed and aggressively weaving though traffic.”

Ali admitted to using marijuana before the crash and had THC in his system, Sanchez said. A blood test at the hospital revealed Ali had a blood alcohol content of .11 percent, Hughes wrote. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Two days later, Ali admitted to detectives he was drunk and high, and said he had threatened his wife that night before driving from Manteca to Hayward, according to court papers.

Ali said he “not only was impaired but that he should have pulled over at least three times, but did not and made the decision to keep driving,” Hughes wrote.

Sanchez said Ali had never previously been arrested by the CHP for driving under the influence. He had been arrested in December 2013 on suspicion of a burglary in Fremont, but charges in that case were later dismissed, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Ali has an active security guard license that was issued by the state Bureau of Security and Investigative Services in September 2016.

The crash comes as the CHP rolls out a new statewide public service campaign aimed at combatting driving under the influence of marijuana. State traffic safety officials said they expect an influx of stoned drivers with the legal sale of recreational marijuana that started Monday.

“Drinking and driving is socially unacceptable — smoking marijuana and driving is equally as unacceptable,” Sanchez said Tuesday.

©2018 the San Francisco Chronicle

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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