Crime - Sacto 911

Hayward man convicted of vehicular manslaughter in death of tow truck operator

A 73-year-old Hayward man has been convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the 2013 death of a tow truck driver in Yolo County.

The jury deliberated less than two hours before returning the guilty verdict Thursday in the trial of Pacifico Sanpedro, according to a Yolo County District Attorney’s Office news release.

Sanpedro crashed his Infiniti sedan into a car attached to a tow truck on State Route 16, pinning tow operator Christopher Gladden between the towed car and his truck.

According to evidence presented during the trial, Gladden was completing the attachment of a Nissan sedan to his tow truck on State Route 16 about 3 a.m. July 28, 2013, when Sanpedro, who was on his way home from the Cache Creek Casino, crashed into the Nissan.

Gladden was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries.

According to several witnesses and a reconstruction video, the lights of the tow truck Gladden was operating could be seen from a half-mile away. One witness who was on the side of the road testified as to the brightness of the lights and that all cars traveling in the same direction as Sanpedro were stopping to move around the truck, according to the news release.

Sanpedro testified that he did not see the lights before crashing into the Nissan. Prosecutors said evidence showed no tire marks or any indications that Sanpedro attempted to slow down.

Sanpedro is to be sentenced Sept. 28 by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Daniel Maguire.