Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Olacer Coun•y Cdn was driver in Rocklin fa•al pedes•rian collision

- Tribune News Service The Sacramento Bee

A Facebook post and community advocacy group identified Placer County CEO Todd

Leopold as the driver of a vehicle that fatally struck Anthony Williams in late March in Rocklin.

Williams, an 18-yearold senior and basketball player at Inderkum High School, was struck by the vehicle about 8:30 p.m. March 19 on Lonetree Boulevard near the

Blue Oaks Town Center shopping area, the Rocklin Police Department said.

A community advocacy group calling itself

“Justice for Anthony” announced on Thursday in a news release that they’ve been trying to get more informatio­n about the incident that led to Williams’ death, but they have not received any answers from authoritie­s. In the news release, the group said a Facebook post and a waitress, who was among those who went to Williams’ aid immediatel­y after the collision, have identified the county executive as the driver.

“We’re demanding some answers,” said Michelle Mendez, a member of the advocacy group that has been working with Williams’ family. “If it’s not who it allegedly is, then who is it?”

Since the March 19 incident, The Sacramento Bee has made multiple attempts to obtain a police report of the collision, but the Rocklin Police Department has said that the report has not been completed. On Thursday, Rocklin Police Capt. Scott Horrillo said the report was still incomplete, so the department would not release a copy of the report.

Horrillo also said once the report is completed, it will be submitted to the Placer County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether any criminal charges will be filed in connection with the fatal collision.

“Right now, no criminal charges have been filed,” Horrillo told The Bee after learning of the advocacy group’s news release.

“We’re not releasing the name of the driver.”

Charles Carpenter, Williams’ cousin, said his family has also tried to obtain the police report, but Rocklin police have told them that the investigat­ion remains open and the report cannot be released. He said his cousin’s death certificat­e lists the young man’s cause of death as an “accident.”

“They don’t want to release nothing,” Carpenter told The Bee. “It just bothers me that everything wasn’t handled the right way. We had to find out that informatio­n (about who was the driver) on our own.”

Days after Williams’ death, The Bee also approached the Placer County CEO’S Office and asked Leopold to speak about the incident in which he was allegedly behind the wheel.

“I am sorry, I cannot confirm your informatio­n,” county spokeswoma­n Wendy Williams said in an emailed response to

The Bee on March 23. “I understand Rocklin PD is the handling agency and should be able to provide you with more detail.”

Leopold has worked as the County Executive Officer since January 2018. He is responsibl­e for the administra­tion of county business and reports to the Placer County Board of Supervisor­s.

Police officials have said the man, later identified as Williams, was “walking in the roadway” when he was struck by the vehicle and later died at a hospital. Police also said the driver involved in fatal collision cooperated with the investigat­ion.

“We will not let Anthony Williams devastatin­g death be a mystery no longer,” according to the group’s news release. “We believe Black Lives Matter.”

Mendez said the advocacy group was “first tipped off ” when they read a Facebook comment in response to an April 20 Rocklin police Facebook post recruiting public safety dispatcher­s.

In the comment, Rodriguez wrote: “Why hasn’t Placer County

CEO Todd Leopold been arrested for killing that boy on Lonetree last week? Is the Chief or Mayor really going to try and hide this from the community? You are destroying the public’s confidence.”

The advocacy group says the Police Department has not been transparen­t with its investigat­ion, offering Williams’ family no informatio­n about who was behind the wheel. Mendez said calls to the District Attorney’s Office have produced no answers, too.

“As a result of the authoritie­s’ lack of transparen­cy with the identifica­tion of the alleged driver; a waitress at Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ positively identified Todd Leopold as the driver,” according to the group’s news release. “The waitress that was first on the scene along with restaurant patrons with military background who swiftly acted in attempt to save Anthony’s life.”

The group says withholdin­g the driver’s name has outraged many young people and their families who knew Williams.

District officials with Natomas Unified and Rocklin Unified school districts have said

Williams was a member of the Inderkum boys basketball team and Rocklin Unified student from elementary school through his junior year of high school. Williams attended Whitney High School in Rocklin for three years, where he also played basketball.

“While he may have attended a different school for his senior year, Anthony positively impacted many RUSD students and staff members,” the Rocklin school district said in a statement days after the young man’s death.

Williams’ cousin said the high school senior had already received scholarshi­p offers to play basketball in college, but he hadn’t decided which school he would be attending.

“He was a happy young boy getting ready to go off to college,” Carpenter said about his cousin. “He was playing basketball, that was his love. And now, all that is gone.”

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