Saturday, February 17, 2007
The tragic death of Michael Seitz should be a cautionary tale in several respects. The 35-year-old Napa County vintner was apparently killed in a terrible fork-lift accident where the only other person present was an illegal alien worker. After Seitz's skull was crushed, Jesus Garcia panicked and dumped the body into a truck and drove it a half mile from the scene. For a while, authorities believed the death was a homicide. Later, the sheriff's department said either the new forklift malfunctioned or Garcia made an error. Was Seitz dead when Garcia disposed of the evidence? What if Seitz had been badly hurt — would Garcia have aided him? As it is, Garcia is still in serious trouble. Fleeing the scene of a deadly accident and not reporting it is a felony; concealing a death is a misdemeanor. He could serve five years in jail. Garcia also has a DUI pending. On September 30, he pleaded not guilty to concealing an accidental death. Despite his illegal status, the court has set bail at $65,000.