Tuesday Mar 27 2012
Bail increased for alleged I-80 fatal hit-and-run driver
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Christopher Keller charged earlier this month with drug possession, probation violation
AUBURN CA - The family of Interstate-80 hit-and-run victim Dave Robinson Jr., sat strong through the arraignment Tuesday in a North Auburn courtroom of the man accused of fleeing the scene after killing the 30-year-old tow-truck driver. Robinson’s father – Dave Robinson Sr. – said outside North Auburn’s jail courtroom after the arraignment of Christopher Keller that his family will remain strong as the case is prosecuted. He added they’ll be advocating for tougher laws and fines for people who ignore the two-year-old Move Over Law protecting safety personnel, including tow-truck drivers. Keller, 25, of Newcastle, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and hit-and-run charges during Tuesday’s proceedings. Judge James Garbolino raised Keller’s bail from $75,000 to $210,000. Garbolino also revealed to defense attorney David Bonilla during the defendant’s appearance that Keller is also facing an additional felony charge of possession of a controlled substance related to a March 12 arrest. And a conviction from that charge would put Keller in violation of probation on a “wet reckless” sentence from September 2009, the judge said. Wet reckless is a term for reckless driving with a blood-alcohol reading of between 0.06 and 0.08 percent. Dave Robinson Sr. was accompanied by his wife, Vickie, and Dave Jr.’s sister, Carrie, at the arraignment. The elder Robinson said he felt Keller saw the family as the defendant sat with about two dozen other jail inmates in court. “Whatever the justice system does, he has to live with this for the rest of his life,” Robinson said. “He’s doing a life sentence. As a family, we’ll be strong and get through this. We won’t dwell on this and bring us down. The system will do what they gotta do and we’ll be pleased with it.” Robinson said he was pleased to see bail increased from $75,000 to $210,000. “He’s going to be here for awhile,” Robinson said. “And he won’t be out here harming anybody else.” Robinson Jr., was killed on westbound Interstate 80 on the afternoon of March 20, about a quarter of a mile west of the Ophir exit near Auburn. He had stopped on the side of the road and witnesses saw a silver Honda strike him as he stood outside the tow-truck door. The Honda didn’t stop. On Sunday, a California Highway Patrol officer found the car – with a badly damaged window covered by a tarp – in a Foresthill yard. Keller was arrested and jailed. Defense attorney Bonilla declined to comment on the case after proceedings Tuesday. A conference is scheduled between the attorneys and Garbolino on April 12. Robinson Jr., an elite bowler and Citrus Heights resident also involved for many years with the All American Speedway in Roseville, will be remembered at the track with a “Parade Lap in Honor of Davey” this coming Saturday. On April 1, the Placer County Fairgrounds will play host to a benefit concert by employees of Walmart, with doors opening at 1:30 p.m. Two bands will play and there will be food for purchase. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. April 22 at the speedway. Preceding the service, tow- truck drivers are planning a huge procession that Robinson Sr., said will reinforce the need for tougher laws on protecting safety personnel working on the roadside. “It will be two miles long and put the emphasis on slowing down and moving over,” he said.