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Alleged wrong-way driver fails to appear in court

Burbank man charged with murdering 2 had previous DUI conviction in Ventura County

Posted: September 25, 2013 5:43 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2013 5:43 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - A Burbank man charged with two counts of murder in the wrong-way crash that killed two people last June failed to appear in court as ordered Wednesday, according to the prosecutor handling the case.

Bradford Elliot Pate, 38, who spent more than a month in Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital recovering from injuries suffered in the crash, was scheduled to appear in San Fernando Superior Court on Wednesday but did not, said Deputy District Attorney Mykka Piantanida.

“He was a ‘miss-out,’ according to the sheriff,” she told The Signal Wednesday. A “miss-out” is a term used by court officials to explain a defendant’s failure to appear in court due to problems associated with his transfer to court from jail.

Although the reasons for Pate’s failure to appear were not disclosed, he has experienced medical problems due to a foot injury suffered in the crash, Piantanida said.

Pate was charged with two counts of murder and other charges for allegedly slamming his pickup truck into oncoming traffic while traveling southbound in the Highway 14 northbound lanes on June 22.

The Burbank man has a previous conviction on a drunken driving charge. In May 2007 he entered a no contest plea in Ventura County Superior Court to a charge of driving with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.08 percent. A second charge of driving under the influence of alcohol was dismissed.

Pate was sentenced in Ventura County to serve five days in jail, pay a fine of $1,801 and serve three months probation.

The June 22 collision occurred shortly before 3:30 a.m. when Pate allegedly entered the northbound lanes of Highway 14 by way of the off-ramp at Escondido Canyon Road, according to a California Highway Patrol news release issued shortly after the crash.

The Rev. Manard Giles, 77, of Quartz Hill, was killed in the crash. A passenger in his car, Mattie Lee Ferguson, 60, of Lancaster, died of her injuries a day later. A third passenger in the minister’s vehicle was trapped in the car until rescuers could free him.

Besides murder, Pate was also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and DUI over .08 percent alcohol causing injury.

Shortly after he was arrested in June, Pate posted bail, then set at $1 million, and was released from custody. He was arrested again in July, however, with bail re-set at $3 million.

He remains in custody at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.

If convicted on the murder charges in Los Angeles County, he faces up to life in prison.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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