Murder Charges Filed Against Hit-And-Run Driver

Brian Rathgen, the man accused of hitting two pedestrians in Sunnyvale, also allegedly struck a Volvo in Los Altos, then fled into Shoup Park, and crossed Adobe Creek. Rathgen faces murder charges.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office filed charges including murder and assault with a deadly weapon against a San Jose man suspected of killing a pedestrian and injuring two other people with his car on Saturday afternoon in Sunnyvale, then abandoning his car in Los Altos.

Brian Rathgen, 45, turned himself in to police after allegedly fleeing the scene of collisions in Sunnyvale and Los Altos, according to the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

In the first collision, reported at 12:21 p.m., Sunnyvale police said 59-year-old Edgar Quiroz and 64-year-old Camille Beaumont were crossing Hollenbeck Avenue at Danforth Drive in Sunnyvale when Rathgen struck them in the crosswalk, seriously injuring both.

Emergency responders arrived to find the victims lying in the intersection, and transported Quiroz and Beaumont to Stanford Hospital, Sunnyvale police said.

Shortly after the first collision, at 12:30 p.m., a black, two-door Acura Integra hit a Volvo SUV in Los Altos on Foothill Expressway and Main Street.

The Acura had been traveling north in the southbound lane, according to Sgt. Cameron Shearer of the Los Altos Police Department.

Rathgen, who was driving the Acura, turned abruptly to avoid oncoming traffic
and struck the Volvo's rear passenger-side panel.

The Volvo was driven by a Cupertino woman, who complained of chest pain and was transported to El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Shearer said.

The Acura was disabled in that collision. Rathgen allegedly fled the scene on foot, crossing through Shoup Park, wading through Adobe Creek, and scrambled  uphill into Los Altos Hills, Shearer said.

Sunnyvale investigators met Los Altos police at the scene and pursued Rathgen.

Aided by a K-9 unit, police believed they were closing in on Rathgen when he called police and turned himself in, Shearer said.

Rathgen was taken into custody, but while in a holding cell at the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, he allegedly became combative and assaulted four officers who were attempting to restrain him, injuring one officer's hand, Sunnyvale police said.

During a police interview, Rathgen reportedly waived his Miranda rights and said he had struck the two pedestrians in Sunnyvale intentionally, Sunnyvale police said.

He also allegedly admitted to driving the wrong way on Foothill Expressway, colliding with the Volvo SUV and fleeing the scene, Sunnyvale and Los Altos police said.

Quiroz died after being taken off life support on April 2.

Beaumont remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma, Sunnyvale police said.

Los Altos police have not released the name of the third victim. Rathgen has been charged with 10 counts in all, including murder, assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of hit-and-run resulting in permanent serious injury or death, hit-and-run driving causing property damage, four counts of battery on a peace officer, and one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, according to the district attorney's office.

Rathgen was arraigned Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto.

—By Bay City News Service


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