Colfax I-80 rock-throwing teens facing years of victim restitution hearings

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Three former Colfax High School students convicted of assault charges stemming from an Interstate 80 overpass rock-throwing incident this summer were back in a North Auburn courtroom briefly today. And the three were given indications that restitution for serious facial injuries suffered by one victim could extend into years of continuing court appearances. Hunter Perez, 16, Samuel Quinlan, 16 and Sean Steele, 17, appeared with their attorneys for discussion of restitution toward three victims and a request by one of the youths to attend a funeral. Judge Colleen Nichols and attorneys for the three teens agreed that a restitution hearing should be held within four to six months and after one of the victims – Sacramento resident Jose Palomera – undergoes more treatment for facial injuries. Palomera was seriously injured when one of the rocks tossed from the overpass by the three crashed through the windshield of the car he was driving and struck him in the face. Deputy District Attorney Michael Paschon said claims from the two drivers who were uninjured when their vehicles were struck by debris July 26 should be calculated through insurance companies relatively quickly. But because of the length of time Palomera is expected to take to recover, the three youths could be returning to court for further restitution hearings for years, he said. Jess Bedore, attorney for Samuel Quinlan, was granted a request for his client to leave the Placer County Juvenile Detention Center to attend a funeral for an aunt whose service will be held in Grass Valley. Paschon requested that Quinlan attend only the funeral and not a family gathering afterward because of deprivation was part of his punishment. Nichols said she would allow Quinlan to attend both the funeral and family gathering. All three teens – members of the Colfax High football team at the time of the rock-tossing incident – were ordered to serve 10 months in the juvenile detention center after lodging “no contest” pleas Oct. 14 to charges of assault with a deadly weapon, assault by means of force and conspiracy to commit a crime.