A driver who struck and killed a motorcyclist in East Palo Alto Wednesday morning (Sept. 28) while fleeing police will be charged this afternoon with murder, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.
Eric Banford, a 46-year-old East Palo Alto resident, will be charged with second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter, felony evading a police officer and felony hit-and-run, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. He is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m.
Banford also has two prior strikes for felony convictions. He was convicted of manslaughter in 1991, and of robbery in 1987, Wagstaffe said. The murder charge was justified, in part, Wagstaffe said, by the act that Banford was allegedly using drugs at the time of the crash, which killed 50-year-old East Palo Alto resident Danny Lee Dixon.
Banford was allegedly trying to evade police when the Land Rover he was driving struck Dixon's motorcycle at Bay Road and University Avenue at 5:25 a.m., according to police. Dixon was declared dead at the scene.
The incident was the first of two fatal crashes in East Palo Alto on Wednesday. Sioreli Torres, 6, was struck and killed in a crosswalk on Bay Road at Gloria Way shortly after 8 a.m. by a car driven by teacher Alisha Whiteparker.
Wagstaffe said police were still investigating that incident, and would turn it over to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office for review to determine if any charges were appropriate.