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DA: Man charged again for involvement in crash death of Salinas mother in 2019 pleads not guilty

jacques clarke rosie figueroa deadly crash
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SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)-- A 21-year-old suspect has pleaded not guilty to new charges filed by the Monterey County District Attorney's Office in the death of a Salinas mother in 2019, according to the Monterey County Court.

Jacques Martine Clarke of Carmel Valley entered a not-guilty plea on a felony charge on Friday in court.

KION EXCLUSIVE: After charges dismissed, initial suspect in deadly Salinas crash shares his story

The DA's office filed the following charges earlier this month:

Vehicle Code section 20001(b)(2), if:
(1) he was riding as a passenger in that vehicle when it is involved in an accident;
(2) at the time of the accident, he had full authority to direct and control the vehicle even though
another person was driving the vehicle;
(3) the accident caused death or permanent, serious injury to someone else;
(4) he knew that the vehicle had been involved in an accident that injured or killed another person
or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that another person had been injured;
AND
(5) he willfully failed to provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident;
OR
if the accident causes death, he fails to notify, without unnecessary delay, either the police
department of the city where the accident happened or the local headquarters of the California
Highway patrol, if the accident happened in an unincorporated area.

Monterey County District Attorney's Office

Clarke posted bail on June 7 and was arraigned on a complaint today for his new charge. He is next scheduled for court on August 3 at 8:30 a.m., according to the Monterey County Court Portal.

DA: Arrest warrant wanted for man involved in 2019 crash that killed Salinas mother

UPDATE JUNE 1, 2022, at 6:21 p.m.-- The Monterey County District Attorney's Office is trying to get an arrest warrant for a Carmel Valley man involved in a deadly crash that killed a Salinas mother in 2019.

Jacques Martine Clarke, 18 at the time, was in the passenger seat and drunk when the car he was in allegedly rear-ended Rosie Figueroa, 38, in December of 2019. The DA's office said Figueroa ended up hitting a tree, and she and her passenger were severally injured, with Figueroa dying of her injuries.

DNA evidence from the passenger side of the vehcile dismissed Clarke as the driver, but the DA's office said, "The results were not 100% conclusive because there was a mixture of DNA on the airbag which was neither Clarke's nor (Tyrone) Moore's."

Now the DA's office hopes to arrest Clarke on new charges.

Vehicle Code section 20001(b)(2), if:
(1) he was riding as a passenger in that vehicle when it is involved in an accident;
(2) at the time of the accident, he had full authority to direct and control the vehicle even though
another person was driving the vehicle;
(3) the accident caused death or permanent, serious injury to someone else;
(4) he knew that the vehicle had been involved in an accident that injured or killed another person
or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that another person had been injured;
AND
(5) he willfully failed to provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident;
OR
if the accident causes death, he fails to notify, without unnecessary delay, either the police
department of the city where the accident happened or the local headquarters of the California
Highway patrol, if the accident happened in an unincorporated area.

Monterey County Da's Office

The DA's office added that Moore died in a hit-and-run crash in Nevada on March 9, 2022.

---

UPDATE 12/2/2020-- 3 p.m. The case against an 18-year-old accused of causing a deadly crash while under the influence will be dismissed after DNA evidence showed that he was not the driver at the time of the crash.

The crash happened in December 2019 near Davis Road and W. Acacia. Investigators said evidence showed that a speeding Mazda hit a Toyota driven by 38-year-old Rosie Figueroa, who died at the scene when the vehicle overturned and crashed through a fence.

When officers arrived, they said the two people who had been inside the Mazda, including 18-year-old Jacques Clarke, were already out of the car. No witnesses were at the scene to say who had been driving. Still, investigators believed Clarke was driving because the vehicle was registered to him, the key fob was found in his pocket and the driver's seat appeared to be better adjusted to someone his size than the other person in the car.

When a DUI investigation was conducted, police say Clarke was under the influence of alcohol and subsequently arrested.

READ MORE: Family of Salinas crash victim campaigns for "Justice for Rosie" outside courthouse

Investigators sent DNA taken from the airbag on the passenger side of the Mazda to the Department of Justice for DNA analysis.

"It came back conclusively that Clarke was in the passenger seat and therefore could not have been the driver," says Monterey County District Attorney, Jeannine Pacioni.

Based on the findings, the DA's Office is set to dismiss the charges against Clarke on Friday.

On Wednesday, that news weighed heavily on the victim's family.

"A lot of people can't believe what's happening, they're up in arms, they're upset, we want answers," says Socrates Figueroa, brother of Rosie Figueroa.

Socrates says every day has been a battle for him as he tries to make sense of the loss of his sister.

"I wake up in the middle of the night and I see her face, I think of her often, I hear songs that remind me of her, I see her daughter, I spend time with her daughter and it reminds me of her."

The Figueroa family says they want a conviction as they pursue justice in Rosie's death.

The investigation into the case is continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator Leonardo Gomez at 831-755-5000.

ORIGINAL STORY

The Monterey County District Attorney's Office confirms that a dismissal hearing has been scheduled for an 18-year-old accused of causing a deadly crash while under the influence.

The prosecutor assigned to the case, Deputy District Attorney Lindsey O'Shea, said the case against the suspect, Jacques Clarke, is set to be dismissed due to newly discovered evidence, but could not give more details.

"I am unable to comment on what that evidence is at this time, because it would compromise the ongoing investigation currently being conducted by my office. We remain committed to securing justice for Ms. Figueroa and her surviving family members," O'Shea told KION.

The crash happened in December of last year in Salinas. Police and officers with the California Highway Patrol responded to the crash on the corner of Davis Road and W. Acacia Street and found a Mazda 6 with major damage and a Toyota Camry that had overturned and crashed through a residential fence.

Investigators believed 18-year-old Jacques Clarke of Carmel was speeding in the Mazda as he drove north on Davis Road near the rear of the Toyota, driven by Rosie Figueroa.

The CHP said Clarke's vehicle hit Figueroa's, causing it to spin out of control before the driver's side hit a large tree and the car overturned. Figueroa died at the scene, and her passenger was taken to Natividad to be treated for major injuries. Clarke was evaluated for DUI and arrested.

In court, Clarke pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. The dismissal hearing is scheduled for December 4.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

Jocelyn Ortega

Jocelyn Ortega is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

Comments

6 Comments

    1. Definitely but I don’t think it’s illegal to be a drunk passenger. What the article is not mentioning is if it was not him driving then it had to be the other person. Why no mention of that person? The thing about an FOB is it can be in the passengers pocket and the car will start just fine so that alone should not have been proof that he was driving. But I find it odd that neither him or the driver was willing to say who was driving. Maybe I can understand that. Keep quiet and let law enforcement prove or disprove their case. Still, it is a mystery regarding who was driving the car.

      1. So who’s the fall guy, huh ? I’m completely skeptical. The seat position completely contradicts their conclusion. That vehicle probably has seat position memory…read the data.

  1. Was the other person in his car under 18 yrs at the time of the accident? Sounds like they both kept quiet til they spoke to their attorneys, smart.wouldnt the kids DNA be found all over the car, including the driver’s seat, since it is his? I dunno, something sounds a bit fishy. My heart goes out to the little girl who lost her mother, and to the victims mother and brother. I don’t know if those kids even realize just how terrible this is..

  2. “A lot of people can’t believe what’s happening, they’re up in arms, they’re upset”
    What MOST of us are upset about, besides teen morons killing innocent people, is why there is no mention, at all, of who this mystery driver might be. What’s the big deal. A name need not be mentioned if underage. But what’s the scoop here? Was it someone embarrassing to the media or government or ?????????????
    One would think the words ‘a friend of the previously accused’ or some general description would be released. Makes ya wonder what’s going on.

    1. @Jalbert, turns out that they never did a sobriety test for the other guy. They can establish he was driving but without proof of intoxication, this becomes an insurance/civil issue. Since the focus was all on this kid and the assumption was DUI, did the police do any other investigation into how the crash occurred? So, there will not be justice, only restitution…if negligence can be proven. And then there is the whole matter of how this suspect was treated for the past year.

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