A tragic connection has emerged between a violent vehicle collision that occurred last week in Calaveras County and a case of mistaken identity that led to a gang killing of a man and his two sons in San Francisco 15 years ago.
The collision happened on Highway 4 in Calaveras County, west of the town of Copperopolis, in the Sierra foothills northeast of Modesto. As KPIX reported over the weekend, three people were killed and six were injured just after 7 p.m. Friday night, when a 2020 Honda collided with a 2020 Lexus.
Among the injured were a two-year-old child, a 72-year-old man, and a 72-year-old woman.
Investigators say that the driver of the Honda was driving at a high rate of speed, heading eastbound, when they swerved into the westbound lane "for an unknown reason," striking the Lexus head-on.
The dead have now been identified as Danielle Bologna, 62, of San Francisco, her daughter, Francesca Bologna, 25, also of San Francisco, and Jose Luis Garcia Jr., 25, of Hayward. Garcia has been identified as the driver of the Honda.
As KTVU reports, Danielle Bologna is the widow of Tony Bologna, the man killed in a gang-style shooting in the Excelsior District in June 2008 along with his two sons, Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16. Investigators found that the shooter, Edwin Ramos, who was an MS-13 gang member, mistook the three Bolognas for Latino males, and he believed one of the sons was a rival gang member.
Ramos was convicted of the three murders in 2012 and sentenced to three life terms with no parole. He was convicted with the help of eyewitness testimony from a third son, Andrew Bologna, who was also in the car at the time.
Andrew Bologna is now the sole surviving member of his family, and a friend has set up a GoFundMe on his behalf.
"Fifteen years ago, our dear friend lost his father and brothers and now has lost his beloved mother and sister in a fatal car accident," writes friend Sabrina Chavez. "We asking for our community to help and support Drew during this difficult time."
The tragic coincidence has also impacted an elementary school in the San Francisco Unified School District where Danielle Bologna had worked for years, the Rooftop School. The SFUSD put out a statement saying, "FUSD is saddened to confirm the passing of Danielle Bologna, a longtime educator and parent at Rooftop K-8 School. While Ms. Bologna had not worked at Rooftop since 2018, she remained a strong fixture in the school community, and the school is providing support to impacted staff and students this week."
One of the donors on the GoFundMe page writes, "Miss.D meant so much to all of us at Rooftop, she was really like our school mama."