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Police documents reveal new details in fatal hit-and-run

  • Steven Heath appears with his attorney Stephen Gallenson, left, in Superior Court 9 of the Hon. Jamie Thistlethwaite at the Sonoma county Courthouse in Santa Rosa on March 6, 2013, on charges of hit-and-run that resulted in a death.

Witnesses described a white car driving erratically on Santa Rosa's Montgomery Drive about the time a local real estate agent admitted plowing into a pedestrian and driving away without stopping, according to search warrant documents released Friday.

Michael Black, a 64-year-old political science professor from Pacifica, was killed in the Feb. 27 crash. Steven Harry Heath, 60, told police that he was the driver. Heath, who is free on bail, is charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run. His next hearing is Thursday.

In search warrant affidavits filed by Santa Rosa police officers, one witness said she was driving westbound on Montgomery Drive when a white car approached in the opposite direction with its right wheels over the fog line.

Hit-And-Run Crash Near Spring Lake

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She also saw a pedestrian, later identified as Black, walking on the south shoulder. She heard the collision after she passed both and looked back to see Black lying on the ground.

Another witness who was also driving westbound at the time reported seeing a white or cream-colored Mercedes driving off the road, creating a large dust cloud behind it. The driver made a series of over-corrections, causing the car to swerve in the oncoming lane, the witness said.

He said he had to slow down to avoid a crash.

The driver then regained control and accelerated "full-throttle," east on Montgomery Drive, he said.

Yet another witness told police she saw a Mercedes make a right turn onto Channel Drive from Montgomery at a high speed. The location was about a half-mile from Heath's Pepperwood Road home.

The witness statements supported a search warrant for Heath's car and home. Officers collected hairs from a dent on the passenger side of his car as well as DNA samples.

They also took a colored piece of fabric from the right front hood area, a pair of DG sunglasses from a cup holder inside and a receipt from MD Liquor and Food dated Feb. 25 from the center console.


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