Another reprieve for Tahoe City man accused of murder | SierraSun.com

Another reprieve for Tahoe City man accused of murder

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

A hearing for Joseph Santen, the Tahoe City driver charged on suspicion of the death of a North Shore man, has been continued until Jan. 4.

At the January hearing, the court will likely set a date for the preliminary hearing, Deputy District Attorney Chris Cattran said.

Sheriff’s detectives allege that Santen, 35, hit Brad Reilly, 27, with his Jeep while driving on Highway 28 near Lake Forest in Tahoe City late on July 16.

Reilly later died from head injuries sustained in the collision.

Santen faces four felony charges, including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit and run causing injury or death, and driving under the influence with bodily injury.

He is also charged on suspicion of misdemeanor offenses ” driving with a suspended or revoked license, and driving while intoxicated with blood alcohol content greater than .08.

Santen pleaded not guilty to the charges on July 27, Cattran said.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Santen at his Tahoe City residence almost three hours after the 11 p.m. collision, Cattran said.

Officers said Santen appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of his arrest, and has three previous convictions of driving under the influence, said Cattran.

Cattran would not comment on the blood alcohol content of either Santen or Reilly.

“I’m not going to try the case in the papers,” he said.

The Placer County District Attorney Tuesday received accident reconstruction reports. After review, the reports will then be passed to Santen’s attorney, Jordan Morgenstern.

Information contained in the reconstruction report will help provide a more concrete understanding of the collision: including speed, location, and direction of travel of both the suspect and the victim, said Cattran.

The Critical Accident Reconstruction Team, a division of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, reconstructed the crash using available evidence, such as trajectory, geometry and gauge marks, Cattran said.

Santen was not present in the Placer County Superior Court Tahoe City courtroom Monday, and remains in custody in Auburn.