The charges against a woman accused of causing a head-on crash in Joshua Tree 10 days ago that killed a woman and critically injured her husband and 1-year-old daughter, were upgraded Saturday from felony DUI to gross vehicular manslaughter. According to the California Highway Patrol, Jennifer Zapata, 22, of Magna, Utah, was driving a white Hyundai Sonata that drifted across the center line while driving westbound on Highway 62 about 6:45 p.m. April 13. Her car crashed head-on into an eastbound red Mazda 6 near Arizona Avenue, driven by Lance Corporal Chris Matthews, 28, a Marine assigned to the Provost Marshall’s Office at the Twentynine Palms Marine base. Angela Matthews, his 25-year-old wife, died two days later at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Matthews and his 1-year-old daughter, Dakota, were critically injured, as were Zapata and a passenger in her car, Evelyn Martinez, 20, also of Utah. Zapata is being held at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center on $250,000 bail. If convicted, Jennifer Zapata could face up to 10 years in state prison.
Rolling stock inventory condition, capital improvement schedule, the law enforcement costs of homelessness, city signage, and Project Phoenix status were all discussed at the Twentynine Palms City Council meeting last night. Reporter Dan Stork has details…
Design for a proposed Twentynine Palms “wayfinding” sign, approved by the City Council.
Cary Harwin delivered the quarterly report of the Desert Regional Tourism Authority, emphasizing its efforts to promote Twentynine Palms, and decrying the shortcomings of the state’s California Welcome Center web site.
A Sheriff’s Department representative told the Council that an arrest of a homeless person for vagrancy or panhandling is followed by 4 to 6 hours of administrative processing, followed by release back onto the streets. The Department’s HOPE program is trying to reduce costs and recidivism by instead directing homeless arrestees to resources that can address their problems more meaningfully.
City Attorney Patrick Munoz delivered a detailed history of the controversial Project Phoenix bond dispute, up to the recent court decision favorable to the City’s view that it can apply bond proceeds to downtown revitalization. Council adjourned to closed session at the end of the open meeting to discuss the litigation with the Department of Finance further.
As part of the budget review process, City staff surveyed the state of “rolling stock” inventory—trucks, mowers, and the like. The Council approved a request to retire several aged or chronically troublesome pieces of equipment.
Council approved the design of new highly-reflective city way-finding and street signs on city-maintained roadway, pending approval by Caltrans of the same design for Route 62. Council also approved the purchase of sign-making equipment.
Finally, Council approved a multi-year capital improvement plan with regard to its goals. Concrete financial allocations for specific projects will be addressed later in the budget process.
The classic fantasy novel, “The Hobbit” is a tale of Precious treasure, wizards, dwarves, a dragon, and other creatures, as well as the courage and conviction of Bilbo Baggins, who goes on an adventure. Reporter Taylor Thacker says the Twentynine Palms Library teen book club will be discussing the book tomorrow…
Join the Twentynine Palms Library for their monthly teen book club meeting. On Thursday, April 24, from 4 to 5 p.m., they will discuss the book The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, home-loving hobbit, is quite happy to stay at home until he meets a wizard, Gandalf, and is enticed into an adventure in which he becomes an “Expert Treasure Hunter.” Together with Gandalf and a band of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins sets out to reclaim a fortune in gold that is now in the hands of Smaug the Magnificent, a terrifying dragon. Along the way they encounter threats in the guise of trolls, spiders, and wolves. Bilbo must draw upon his courage and strength of conviction to stand alone before the dragon and do what he has been chosen to do. In the end, Bilbo makes a discovery that will have far-reaching effects on the inhabitants of Middle-Earth. This event is open to teens in grades 7 to 12 and refreshments will be served. Come join the fun. For more information, call 760-367-9519.