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The California Highway Patrol is asking for help in finding the driver of a pickup truck that may have hit a pedestrian killed while crossing Madison Avenue.

Brianna Norman, 18, of Sacramento County, died Monday after she was struck by a vehicle while trying to run across Madison Avenue in heavy traffic, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Officer Chad Hertzell, spokesman for the CHP’s North Sacramento office, said Norman left a convenience store at the northeast corner of Madison and Auburn Boulevard about 4:30 p.m. and tried to run across Madison Avenue, according to witnesses.

Hertzell said Norman was about 30 feet east of the Madison Avenue crosswalk and encountered heavy traffic moving at the speed limit – 45 mph. Witnesses told investigators that motorists were swerving to avoid her.

Driving under the influence arrests were down in the Sacramento area during a long summer enforcement period that ended with Labor Day.

From Aug. 15 through Labor Day officers representing 17 Sacramento County law enforcement agencies arrested 363 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Last year, during the same time period, 405 arrests were made.

While the declining number may reflect less inebriated driving, the 300-plus arrests are still far too many, according to a press release from the “Avoid the 17” effort.

Officers were assigned either to checkpoints, where they stopped motorists for license and sobriety checks, or saturation patrols, where they patrolled designated areas looking for signs of impaired driving, including failure to maintain a lane, speeding, or long delays at stop signs or lights.

Visit the Sacramento Crimemapper to see what's happening in your neighborhood

An 18-year-old Sacramento woman died today after she was struck by a vehicle while trying to run across Madison Avenue in heavy traffic, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Officer Chad Hertzell, spokesman for the CHP’s North Sacramento office, said the woman left a 7-Eleven store at the northeast corner of Madison and Auburn Boulevard about 4:30 p.m. and tried to run across Madison Avenue, according to witnesses.

Hertzell said the woman was about 30 feet east of the Madison Avenue crosswalk and encountered heavy traffic moving at the speed limit – 45 mph. Witnesses told investigators that motorists were swerving to avoid the woman. When she reached the No. 1 lane – the fourth and traditionally fastest lane of westbound traffic – a Nissan Pathfinder traveling within the speed limit hit the woman, he said.

The woman was taken to Mercy San Juan Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

At least two people were injured tonight when a car was driven into a house in the 8900 block of Bridalsmith Drive, causing a fire in the south Sacramento residence, a fire spokeswoman said.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Capt. Michelle Eidam said the initial call came to the district shortly before 9:20 p.m.

Eidam said shortly before 10 p.m. that it was not immediately known if the injured people had been inside the home or the car, but one person suffered burns and was being taken to a local hospital.

Crews were searching for any other victims and for pets, she said.

Increased DUI patrol efforts from police departments across the county have led to 317 total arrests during the past two weeks - a period identified by officials as featuring elevated incidents of drunk driving.

The strict enforcement period, which began on noon Aug. 15 and will continue through midnight on Labor Day, involved deployments from 17 law enforcement agencies. Officers were assigned either to checkpoints, where they stopped motorists momentarily for license and sobriety checks, or saturation patrols, where they circulated designated areas looking for signs of impaired driving, including failure to maintain a lane, defiance of the posted speed limit, or long delays at stop signs or lights, according to Jason Browning, a Folsom Police Department public information officer.

A checkpoint is scheduled in Citrus Heights on Sunday night, and saturation patrols are deploying in Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento on Labor Day.

Sacramento police set up a DUI checkpoint at Power Inn and Elder Creek roads on Saturday. During a five- to seven-hour period, officers made four arrests for impaired driving, three for alcohol impairment and one for drug impairment, Sacramento Public Information Officer Michele Gigante said.

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nicholas wray wilson
Willilam P. Wood

“The Bone Garden,” a book by former Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney William P. Wood, details perhaps the most macabre murders in Sacramento’s history.

Turner Publishing Company recently released the book again two decades after the first publication of the work, which offers an insider’s look at the murders committed by Dorothea Montalvo Puente, who ran a boardinghouse in midtown.

Puente began her mayhem in 1980. It was then-deputy district attorney Wood who sent her to prison for three years for drugging her elderly tenants and stealing checks from them.

She was back in business by 1985, offering rooms to elderly and disabled residents, some of whom she met while cruising bars. Puente, white-haired and smooth-talking, killed her frail and elderly tenants before burying them in the yard of her F Street boardinghouse.

What happened to the missing college student, Cody Matthews?

– Bonny, Sacramento

Vernon “Cody” Matthews is still missing.

The 23-year-old UC Berkeley student disappeared from his family’s cabin near Pollock Pines in El Dorado County, where he planned to spend the summer. Matthews’ family last heard from him June 6, when he called his mother from the cabin. He told her he was going on a day hike and would phone in the evening when he returned.

Sutter County sheriff’s officials say a man shot and killed by deputies Wednesday when he threatened them with a handgun told the deputies that he was determined to end his life.

Autopsy results revealed that Mark Jeffery Sharpe, 54, of Live Oak died of gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Deputies responded about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to a report of an assault or suicide attempt in the 4700 block of Broadway in Live Oak. Deputies found a woman inside a residence and a man, identified as Sharpe, armed with a handgun and bleeding from cuts to his neck that were later determined to have been self-inflicted, sheriff’s officials said. The deputies said Sharpe pointed a handgun at them.

Sheriff’s officials said the deputies tried to negotiate with Sharpe, urging him to put down the weapon, but Sharpe told deputies he was determined to end his life.

A man convicted of the shooting death of a Sacramento motorist who refused to give him money has been sentenced to 52 years in state prison.

A Sacramento County jury in July found Dywon Levell Byrd, 45, guilty of first-degree murder of William Stephens and use of a handgun, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release. Byrd was sentenced Friday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny.

On Dec. 7, 2011, Stephens was in his car talking with a friend when Byrd approached the driver’s side window and asked for $2. When Stephens refused to give him the money, Byrd shot Stephens twice, killing him, authorities said. The friend escaped unharmed.

Byrd fled in his vehicle, but a police officer in a patrol vehicle spotted Byrd driving with headlights off and a pursuit ensued. Byrd eventually abandoned his vehicle and was arrested hours later when he was found hiding in backyard shed. Authorities said gunshot residue and DNA linked a jacket found in a neighboring backyard to Byrd.

Friday, August 29 2014
State Fair robbers get prison terms
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Autumn Payne/apayne@sacbee.com
The Magical Midway glows with color during the California State Fair.

A judge sentenced two men who robbed a Cal Expo food vendor of more than $200,000 during the California State Fair four years ago to prison terms Friday, though one walked free after the sentencing because he’d served his time in jail awaiting trial.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Greta Curtis Fall sentenced Gene Irvin Felder, 36, to six years in prison, citing a number of aggravating circumstances. Felder induced others to commit crimes, planned the robbery with “sophistication and professionalism,” and had prior convictions, Fall said.

She denied Felder’s request to stay his sentence for a month so he could visit his mother and other relatives.

“I just want to stay a little bit longer so I can see my family before I go up,” Felder, who was in custody and wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, told the judge.

Four months after a federal judge in Sacramento declared that conditions for mentally ill inmates in the state’s prisons were “horrific,” California corrections officials unveiled sweeping new policies that will house them in specially designed units, provide greater time out of their cells and offer vastly increased treatment for the ill prisoners.

The new policies, outlined in a filing Friday in federal court, dramatically alter the manner in which tens of thousands of state prison inmates are to be treated, and are designed to reduce the number of prisoner suicides and deaths.

“This is a tremendous breakthrough in the long struggle to bring treatment of mentally ill inmates into line with the Constitution,” said Michael Bien, lead attorney for the inmates.

“There was a different atmosphere during the negotiations with Corrections on these modifications. We felt we were listened to. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but there was an openness that has not been there in the past. We felt there was an acknowledgment that the old ways were not effective, and even dangerous for the inmates.

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Sacramento police
Composite image of suspected Southside Park stabber

Somebody this month has stabbed two men in the neck on Southside Park neighborhood streets in Sacramento.

Police said that on August 18 a 61-year-old man was walking on U Street near 10th Street when a man walking in the opposite direction stabbed him in the neck. He was treated and released from the hospital later in the day.

On Monday, the same attacker is suspected of approaching a 75-year-old man in the area of 10th and T streets. He walked up behind the man and stabbed him in the neck.

The victim was taken to the hospital and later released after treatment.

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