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First Day of Testimonies in Death of Bill Ware

Defendant Matt Pumar sat quietly in courtroom as details of the morning of June 21st came to light.

The Ware family sat solemnly in the front row of department 84 at the Santa Clara County, North County Superior Court at 270 Grant Ave. in Palo Alto.

Four rows behind them, before the preliminary hearing, sat the defendant Matthew Pumar, 22, charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of William "Bill" Ware, 50.

Outside the courtroom three witnesses waited—Joshua Bailey, Tatiana Yurochkina and Jesus Rivera—to give their testimonies.

Their paths all crossed that life-changing Tuesday morning, June 21 at approximately 9 a.m. in the intersection of Escuela Avenue and California Street right before Pumar's vehicle collided with Ware.

That four-way intersection became the focus of the morning's session of the People's case against Pumar, who moved to the defense table with his lawyer Dennis Smith.

Deputy District Attorney Duffy Magilligan first called Bailey, a construction worker with Almond Corporation, who had been near the scene of the incident preparing to work on the pedestrian buttons at the intersection. Bailey testified that around 9 a.m. he had gotten in his white van to drive and get gas. He had originally been parked in front of the Filipino church, but got onto the left-turn lane on westbound California Street to turn onto southbound Escuela Avenue.

Bailey couldn't recall exactly how fast he was driving—perhaps one to two miles per hour—when he heard a screeching sound and a car come around him. He testified that he saw the car through his left window a dark-color or black passenger vehicle with four doors—hit the bus stop. He realized he had stopped at the intersection and then pulled over on Escuela Avenue.

He crossed over and saw Pumar—who he identified in court—come toward him in a white t-shirt and basketball shorts with a phone in his hand.

"Are you okay?" Bailey asked of Pumar. Pumar replied, "Is everyone all right?"

"Are you okay?" Bailey repeated to Pumar. Bailey then sat Pumar on the grass and began to remove shards of glass from his face. That's when Bailey noticed the pool of blood at his knees and Ware's human remains.

This account was memorialized in Exhibit No. 1, a poster-size aerial view on Google Earth of the intersection. With a red marker, Bailey drew the location and direction his vehicle traveled.

With a blue marker, Yurochkina marked her initials on the northwest corner of the intersection, the spot where at approximately at 9 a.m. she stood and waited for the "little white man" on the far side and the sound of the "cookoo" before she crossed.

When the light changed to red, she took about three steps into the intersection and saw a dark colored vehicle coming from her right toward the intersection. Yurochkina also indicated she saw Bailey's white van in the intersection before it entered the crosswalk on Escuela Avenue. She then saw Pumar's car swerve around the van.

She didn't see the car hit anything, but did see the car go onto sidewalk. The van obscured her view "a little bit of the car."

"It happened in one second, so I just stood where I was standing," Yurochkina explained.

Through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, Rivera—a minibus operator that transports disabled persons—testified that he waited for about two minutes at a red light on southbound Escuela Avenue.

Rivera noticed Bailey's white van waiting to turn left. After he made the left, another car—coming from the opposite directtion—turned and then there was the collision at the bus stop. He identified Pumar's car as the one in Exhibit No. 2.

Pumar's car, Rivera added, took down three trees and hit a water hydrant. He then saw the car hit someone. Rivera, with a red marker, circled on Exhibit No. 1, where Ware may have stood. Rivera said the car hit Ware and propelled him to the right side.

"They seem to be dwelling around where all these vehicles where when the accident happened and probably trying to find contradictory stories," said Jim Ware, brother of the deceased, "but not that he ran a red light and killed my brother."

Editor's Note: The following account is of the morning session of the State v. Pumar. The hearing resumed at 1:30 p.m. Here are the details of the more emotional afternoon testimonies.

 

Follow the story:

  • Man Killed at Bus Stop After Car Careens into Him
  • FOLLOW-UP: Pedestrian from Fatal Traffic Accident Identified
  • Remembering William "Bill" Ware
  • A Brother's Words About the Loss of his Brother
  • In Memoriam: 'Bill is Like an Angel'
  • Man Who Drove into William Ware Charged

 

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