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Alleged wrong-way driver ordered to stand trial on murder

Posted: February 20, 2014 6:17 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2014 6:17 p.m.

A Burbank man charged with two counts of murder following a wrong-way crash on State Route 14 that left two people dead in June has been ordered to stand trial, according to a spokesman from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

District Attorney’s spokesman Ricardo Santiago said Thursday that Bradford Elliot Pate, 38, of Burbank will next appear in court for arraignment March 5.

The murder charges stem from a collision in the early morning of June 22, 2013, during which Pate allegedly slammed his vehicle into oncoming traffic while traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of State Route 14.

Pate allegedly entered the northbound lanes using the off-ramp at Escondido Canyon Road, according to a report released by the California Highway Patrol shortly after the crash.

Pate’s truck collided head-on with a 2006 Chrysler south of Escondido Canyon Road, according to the report. One person, 77-year-old Rev. Manard Giles, died at the scene.

A second passenger in the car, 60-year-old Mattie Lee Ferguson of Lancaster, suffered major injuries in the crash and died two days in the hospital.

Giles led the Answer Community Church of God in Lancaster, according to information presented at a preliminary hearing last week. He, Ferguson, and a third person, 47-year-old Lancaster resident Lennard Wilds, were driving back from a church conference in San Diego when the vehicle allegedly driven by Pate slammed into theirs around 3:30 a.m.

Wilds said the crash left him with a broken pelvis and that he had to get a kneecap replaced.

“My chin was shattered and my teeth were knocked out,” he said during the preliminary hearing. “My eye had some abrasions on it and the doctor is getting me some glasses because I can’t see that well out of my right eye.”

Pate himself was injured in the crash and was hospitalized afterward.
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