An incredibly sad story to come out of the July 4th weekend in the East Bay was a hit-and-run accident in Concord that killed two children and badly injured a three-month old (The three-month old remains in critical condition at Children’s Hospital in Oakland). A few SFist readers speculated in the comments section of our initial report that the driver fled the scene because he was intoxicated, and Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts seems to agree. ABC 7 reports that Butts has charged the driver, 35-year-old Lemuel Wilson, with two counts of murder, DUI, leaving the scene of the crash, and driving with a suspended license from a previous DUI.
But KRON 4 dug a little deeper into Wilson’s past, and found that in addition to previous DUIs, drug trafficking, and assault charges, Wilson had been arrested just ten days before the crash for threatening employees at a Pleasanton Nordstrom and having a car full of bogus credit cards.
Warning: The ABC 7 video above is extremely tough to watch, with footage of the two slain little boys, the infant who’s clinging to life, and the devastated, neck-brace-wearing mom who has to cope with all of this loss. “We seem to have a bit of a broken system due to the fact that this person has multiple DUI's and was still able to get bail,” tearful mother Aida Reyes told ABC 7.
But the system seems even more broken in the context that Wilson, who also remains hospitalized, had threatened to kill four Nordstrom employees according to court documents regarding a July 24 incident. “Witnesses say when asked to leave, Lemuel [Wilson] pushed a manager and threatened to kill him,” KRON 4’s Terisa Estacio reports. “Police stepped in, and arrested the two [Wilson brothers], and discovered a bullet in Wilson’s pocket. They also searched his vehicle and allegedly found hundreds of credit cards as well as a device to forge credit cards.”
Wilson’s bail for the most recent DUI and murder charges is set at $2 million, and he’ll likely be arraigned at Oakland’s Highland Hospital in two weeks.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help cover the funeral costs of the two children killed, five-year-old Vincent Reyes Rothenberg and 10-year-old Lorenzo Reyes.