The first court appearance for an alleged DUI driver in an accident that killed five people was more notable for what happened outside the Sacramento courthouse, as a brawl broke out between families of the victims and the accused.
There was already a very strange turn in a tragic February 9 car accident, an alleged DUI that took the lives of five victims. 28-year-old Cameron Garcia, whom the California Highway Patrol accuses of being intoxicated at the time of the crash, allegedly drove a car with five other passengers into a tree in Sacramento County, and the five passengers were killed when ejected from the vehicle. Another car pulled over to help, but Garcia allegedly carjacked that vehicle, led police on a chase, hit another vehicle, then tried to flee on foot through the Valley Hi Golf Course, where he was apprehended by CHP and Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies.
But at Garcia’s first court arraignment Tuesday, things took an even odder turn. Sacramento’s KCRA reports that a physical fight broke out between Garcia’s family and the victims’ families, neither of whom were allowed in the courtroom because of remaining COVID-19 protocols.
KCRA had cameras on the scene for this extremely unexpected melee, which spilled from the sidewalk onto the street, and even to the other side of the street.As KCRA describes it, “a member of Garcia’s family, possibly his brother, was taunting the parents of one of the victims, Monte Nunn, from across the street.” The station adds that “Monte’s father Robert Nunn alleged the man was threatening him and his family and he reacted by getting into a physical fight.”
Two men were taken into custody. Per KCRA, the victim’s father Monte Nunn was later released; it's unclear what happened to Garcia’s family member.
KCRA separately identifies the five victims of the crash, all of whom were in Garcia’s vehicle. They are Faith Nicole Samuel (18 years old, and a recent Monterey Trail High School graduate), Izabelle Larae Salaz-Stephens (19 years old), Curvontay Swygert (just 16 years old and a Luther Burbank High School student), Monte Nunn(29 years old), and Aahliya Garcia (17 years old, and the suspect’s sister).
Cameron Garcia remains in custody at Sacramento County Jail with $5.5 million bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 29.
Related: Defrocked Ex-Priest, Accused of Child Sex Abuse, Kills Pedestrian In Alleged Walnut Creek DUI Incident [SFist]
Image: Nathan Hughes Hamilton via Wikimedia Commons