By PAUL PAYNE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County’s district attorney said Friday she is transferring the investigation and prosecution of the teenager accused in the fatal Cloverdale hit-and-run crash to an independent counsel overseen by the state attorney general.
Jill Ravitch said in a written statement that the district attorney in Marin County will assign a prosecutor to the case at her request.
“The attorney will be appointed as a special deputy attorney general, and be supervised by the attorney general’s office,” she said in a three-paragraph statement released just before 5 p.m Friday.
The move follows her announcement earlier this week that her office would review the case involving the death of Miguel Sanchez, 83, who was struck on Dec. 27 as he crossed a Cloverdale street. Mitch Carlson, 17, of Cloverdale was later arrested in connection with the hit-and-run case.
The case was reportedly settled without a completed crash report while Sanchez lay severely injured in a hospital. He died from his injuries Dec. 31.
The Sanchez family lawyer, Melinda Guzman, said she was surprised to learn of the independent review but that it was welcome.
“It’s about time,” she said. “Someone needs to take this case seriously. There has been some major mishandling.”
Guzman said the family was not informed of the change. Earlier today, she said a Sonoma County prosecutor and an investigator were in Cloverdale, looking into the case.
“Is it that they found out something today?” Guzman said. “I don’t know.”
The crash and juvenile court case occurred during the final week of outgoing District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua’s term in office. Ravitch took office Jan. 3.