Lawyer for family of woman killed on busy Santa Rosa road disputes police account
On Oct. 23, Santa Rosa preschool teacher Jennell Davies became one of two people killed at or near the Stony Point and Occidental roads intersection — one of the city’s busiest intersections — in west Santa Rosa in the span of more than five weeks.
A third person, 20-year-old bicyclist Sidney Falbo, died eight days later when she apparently rode into the path of a dump truck on the southbound lane of Stony Point Road near the Highway 12 off-ramp, about a block south of where Davies was killed.
It’s an intersection and nearby stretch of roadway police say poses challenges for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians given the high number of people who pass by daily. The spate of fatalities there is spotlighting the potential danger.
In all, roughly 38,700 cars a day are driven on Stony Point Road between the eastbound Highway 12 offramp and Occidental Road, a 2017 Santa Rosa traffic count of the city’s major intersections found.
It’s among the busiest intersections in the city, with three segments of Steele Lane near the Coddingtown Mall getting the heaviest traffic, upward of 45,000 cars daily, according to a Press Democrat analysis of the city’s traffic count data.
In Davies’ case, Santa Rosa police said a passing driver, identified as Jose Manuel Canseco-Moreno, 26, of Santa Rosa, had a green light when his pickup truck struck Davies, 39, as she walked east on Occidental Road over Stony Point Road at the intersection’s northern crosswalk, just feet from a Highway 12 offramp.
Personal injury lawyer Michael Fiumara, who was hired by Davies’ family following the crash, disputed the Police Department’s account, saying Davies’ boyfriend was with her that night.
The boyfriend said Davies pushed the walk button and waited for the walk sign before entering the crosswalk. He was feet behind her when she was hit, stalled by two friends he bumped into on the opposite side of the street. Davies went ahead without him.
The couple was headed home to the Walnut Grove Apartment complex, where Davies had lived for more than a decade.
“He’s trying to catch up and it’s just a matter of feet before he could reach her,” Fiumara said of her boyfriend. “He said the car didn’t even stop; it just hit her.”
Sgt. Summer Gloeckner said investigators have reached out to Davies’ boyfriend since the incident, and while his statements were similar to those he made to officers the night of the crash, investigators still think Canseco-Moreno had the right of way.
Canseco-Moreno, who was going north on Stony Point, stayed at the scene afterward and did not show signs of impairment, said Gloeckner, who oversees the Santa Rosa Police Department’s traffic bureau. Toxicology reports are expected to take weeks to complete. The Press Democrat was not able to find contact information for Canseco-Moreno.
“In this situation, based on driver and witness statements, she was crossing when she didn’t have the right of way,” Gloeckner said.
Together, the three fatalities raise bigger questions about the safety of the intersection at Stony Point and Occidental roads and nearby, Fiumara said.
“It’s a dangerous intersection and it’s not working,” he said, pointing to Santa Rosa police data released after Davies’ death.