Tahoe City hit-and-run awaits further reports | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City hit-and-run awaits further reports

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Another hearing for Joseph Santen, the Tahoe City driver charged in the death of a North Shore man, has been re-scheduled for later this month.

The Placer County District Attorney office expects further information on the case and is awaiting results from an accident reconstruction report before proceeding.

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 was not present in the Placer County Superior Court Tahoe City Division courtroom Tuesday, but his attorney Jordan Morgenstern spoke on his behalf.

Morgenstern said he and Placer County Deputy District Attorney Chris Cattran “are diligently discussing a resolution to the case” and considering a settlement.

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It is unlikely that the case will get to a preliminary hearing, Morgenstern said, but set Nov. 20 for the next early status conference.

Cattran, however, said that the case will likely go to trial.

“At this point, I would [feel] comfortable saying that I don’t think Mr. Santen would take my offer,” said Cattran.

The results from the accident reconstruction may offer more information on details of the collision and “eek [us] along in the right direction,” Cattran said.

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. Additionally he is 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 plead not guilty to the charges on July 27, Cattran said.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Santen at his Tahoe City residence around 1:30 a.m. on July 17, said Cattran, though the collision is reported to have occurred just after 11 p.m. on July 16. Officers said Santen appeared to be under the influence 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.