Thursday, August 30, 2007

D'Anna, Vincent Owen

Driver facing murder charges in officer's death

Web-posted Aug 29, 2007

Of The Oakland Press

The man accused of being drunk behind the wheel of a sports car that killed a Flint police officer was arraigned Tuesday on charges that included second-degree murder.

Ramon Felix Pineda stood mute in 52-2 District Court before Judge Kelley Kostin, who denied bond based on the severity of the charges and his status as an illegal resident of the United States. "I don't find any comfort the bond would give Mr. Pineda the conviction to show in court," Kostin said.

Pineda is alleged to have been illegally living in the United States for the last 10 years under false identities, including a cousin who lives in Mexico. He is being charged with seconddegree murder, operating while intoxicated causing death, leaving the scene of an accident causing death and driving with a suspended license.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum of life in prison, while operating while intoxicated causing death is a 15-year felony.

Officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have also been informed of Pineda's illegal citizen status.

The 25-year-old is accused of being behind the wheel of the 1992 Chevrolet Camaro that hit off-duty Officer Vincent Owen D'Anna about 8 p.m. Sunday on Sashabaw Road, just past Clarkston Road.

According to witness statements, the Camaro was heading south on Sashabaw Road and hit D'Anna from behind.

D'Anna was driving a 2007 Suzuki motorcycle and became pinned under the car.

The Camaro continued heading south after the collision, dragging D'Anna several feet, according to witnesses.

Oakland County Sheriff 's deputies say Pineda got out of the Camaro and tried to run away, but a witness stopped him.

Oakland County Sheriff 's Lt. James Ahearn told the court Pineda admitted to drinking seven beers before getting behind the wheel of the Camaro and was driving too fast to slow down.

Ahearn also told the court Pineda gave them several false identities. Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Chard said Pineda has two bench warrants out of that district court dating back to 2001, stemming from traffic violations.

Pineda has also never applied for a driver's license, and there were at least 16 witnesses who saw him hit D'Anna, Chard said.

"I think the only way to protect society is to deny bond," she told the court.

Defense attorney Arthur Greenstone asked for leniency on the bond, saying Pineda and his family are heartbroken over what happened.

Pineda didn't mean to hurt anyone, but only wanted to run from the scene because of his illegal resident status, Greenstone told the court.

He has also been employed for the last five years as a cook at a Clarkston restaurant, Greenstone said. Members of D'Anna's family left the courtroom as Greenstone continued to ask for leniency on setting his bond.

"His 1-year-old son and his wife are here. I It appears this is a one-time incident, and it is awful, but there is no history of substance abuse or violence," Greenstone told the court. "If you scratch this catastrophe, you will find someone who has been a productive member of this community."

Visitation for D'Anna will take place 6-9 p.m. today and 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Thursday at Lewis E. Wint & Son Funeral Home, 5929 S. Main St. in Clarkston. The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Clarkston United Methodist Church, 6600 Waldon Road.

Contact staff writer Shaun Byron at (248) 745-4685 or


VinnyLover said...

As Reported in the Clarkston News:

October 03, 2007 - A preliminary exam for the man accused in the death of off-duty Flint police officer Vincent D'Anna was rescheduled last week after his defense attorney withdrew from the case.

Citing a "break-down in the attorney-client" relationship, Clarkston attorney Arthur Greenstone asked for permission to step down and handed the case off to court-appointed Elias Escobedo Jr., who asked for time to prepare.

Judge Kelly Kostin granted both requests, and rescheduled the exam for Oct. 11.

Ramon Pineda was charged with second-degree murder after he allegedly rear-ended a motorcycle driven by Vincent Owen D'Anna on Sashabaw Road in Independence Township Aug. 26.

Witnesses told police Pineda hit D'Anna a second time, dragging him under the car while attempting to flee the scene.

Bystanders tackled the man, who later told police he consumed seven beers before the accident, as he attempted to flee on foot, while others help lift the car off D'Anna.

D'Anna, 26, died the following morning at Genysis Health Park in Grand Blanc.

Prosecutors also added an additional charge in the case Friday, after an ongoing investigation revealed Pineda was using a false name.

Investigators told Judge Kostin that interviews with Pineda's wife revealed he assumed a cousin's name after experiencing difficulty in obtaining identification of his own.

Several pieces of ID were discovered, they said, with photos of the same individual, but different names and birth dates.

Pineda, who entered the U.S. illegally about 12 years ago, also goes by the name Reyes Salas.

Communicating through a translator, Pineda was told he now faces a fourth count of false certification of personal information, a 1-5 year offense.

Pineda stood mute when the new charge was read, and Escobedo asked the court to enter a plea of not guilty on his client's behalf.

Pineda is also charged with:

• Murder 2nd Degree, penalty up to life in prison;

• Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death, a 15-year felony;

• Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Death, a 5 year felony; and

• Driving While License Suspended.

"We're devastated," said Kristine Cobb, noting her husband Dean Cobb and D'Anna were "best friends."

"We're all just sticking together now," she said. "It's all we can do."

Cobb said the group planned to attend all court appearances related to the case. Most were clad in matching black T-shirts bearing D'Anna's name and picture, followed by, "May justice be served,"

Other friends—many in the group attended high school together—said D'Anna was "the guy who didn't care what anyone else thought of him, someone who was always there when you needed him."

And, while D'Anna's immediate family declined general comment, they did want to express a message of gratitude to the community.

"We really want to thank everyone who was there that day and has been there for us ever since," said Camille Leinbach, D'Anna's sister.

The family named witnesses and bystanders who helped lift the car off D'Anna, Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Flint Police, Independence Township fire and rescue personnel, Oakland County Prosecutor and a litany of others.

"I don't want to forget anyone," Leinbach said. "We'll never be able to thank them enough."

The rescheduled preliminary exam, which will determine whether enough evidence exists to send the case to trial at the 6th Circuit Court, was postponed until 1:30 p.m., Thurs. Oct 11.

Anonymous said...

We still miss you today, and expect to see you even now.