Driver in fatal EPA crash to face murder charge

East Palo Alto resident Eric Banford, 46, has two prior strikes for felony convictions

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.

Related story:

Motorcyclist killed in East Palo Alto by driver fleeing police

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Like this comment
Posted by Ben
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

It's too bad he didn't get life after the first time he took someone's life.

Like this comment
Posted by DDay
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm

It's a shame that this guy hides behind drugs, and use that as an "escape goat" or should I say as an excuse for his actions. It seems to me that a person who takes drugs has to say to himself should I or should'nt I? That tells me that when a person is given a choice as to right or wrong, and while in a clear state makes the wrong choice for the worse, just seems to me he knows what he's doing...And to get out of jail repeating the same habits just don't seem like a normal person he difinteley needs to get some serious help...By the way he attempted to break in my house while I was there...what does that tell you????

Like this comment
Posted by To Editor
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2011 at 4:39 pm

This is Hmmmm. I'd live to know more about the victim of this crime, Mr. Dixon. A lot of info about Sioreli has been made public, but very little about Mr. Dixon. It'd be great if some info on him could be written. Thank you.

Like this comment
Posted by JW
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Ditto to what Ben said! Good grief. We don't stand a chance if we let these thugs out after they are convicted of manslaughter.

Like this comment
Posted by be team
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 1, 2011 at 4:21 am

This is cover ur bumm...EPAPD should have never followed pursuit. this scum would have end up in jail eventually..and 2 lives would have been alive.. sorry but its a sad ending

Like this comment
Posted by Lena
a resident of Southgate
on Oct 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm

He must have been a drug dealer, otherwise where did get the money for the Landrover?

Like this comment
Posted by Gary Terell
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I have known Danny for a long time, we went to school together, he was a good person. He will truly be missed, my condolences go out to the family.

Like this comment
Posted by G TOWN
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2011 at 9:02 am

A Land Rover would cost you,but in the hood you can buy one for 20 dollars.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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