Accused accessories face new charges

Seven people accused of aiding the suspected killer of Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh during a Dec. 26 traffic stop face additional federal charges, the Modesto Bee reported last week.

According to the Bee, the seven defendants facing charges of conspiring to harbor an undocumented immigrant (Paulo Virgen Mendoza, who is accused of killing Singh) will also be charged with ID fraud.

The accused include Erik Razo Quiroz, 29, of Merced; Adrian Virgen Mendoza, 25, of Fairfield; Conrado Virgen Mendoza, 34, of Chowchilla; Erasmo Villegas Suarez, 36, of Buttonwillow; Ana Leydi Cervantes Sanchez, 31, of Newman; Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, 59, of Lamont; and Maria Luisa Moreno, 57, of Lamont.

Razo also faces charges from the original indictment of being a felon and illegal immigrant in possession of a firearm.

The superseding indictment also charges Paulo Virgen Mendoza’s brothers, Conrado Virgen Mendoza and Adrian Virgen Mendoza, with with using a false Social Security number and possessing a false green card to secure employment. Villegas Suarez, another relative, is also charged with using a false Social Security number to gain employment, the Bee reported.

The seven defendants are accused of helping Paulo Virgen Mendoza evade authorities after the murder and aiding his effort to flee to Mexico.

Newman resident injured in crash

A Newman woman suffered major injuries in a Friday afternoon accident in the Turlock area, according to Modesto Area CHP.

The CHP said the two-vehicle accident occurred shortly before 4 p.m. at South Washington and Harding roads. The CHP said Jose Borba, 56, of Delhi, who was driving a 2010 Toyota Tundra westbound on Harding, stopped at the South Washington intersection but then began to cross the roadway, pulling into the path of a northbound 2012 Honda Civic driven by Guadalupe Maldonado, 19, of Newman. Maldonado was unable to avoid the collision, the CHP reported.

Both parties were transported to area hospitals with injuries described by the CHP as major.

Borba was arrested for felony DUI and a misdemeanor charge of driving without a license, according the the CHP.

Fire department grant

Fire Chief Keith Bowen said the Newman Fire Department recently purchased two thermal imaging cameras and one combustible gas detector with $13,500 in grant funds acquired through the California Fire Foundation.

The foundation and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. have partnered in the grant program, which was established to help combat climate change-driven disasters in California.

The new equipment will be added to the specialized resources maintained by the department and replace one of the department’s obsolete thermal imaging cameras, Bowen reported.

Both types of equipment are regularly used in a variety of situations, Bowen told Mattos Newspapers.

Newman fire report

Personnel from the Newman Fire Department and West Stanislaus Fire Protection District’s Newman station responded to 16 calls for service from Feb. 18-24.

Fire Chief Keith Bowen said the calls included two public assists, 10 medical aid responses, two motor vehicle collisions, one fire alarm and one potential structure fire.

Bowen said the potential structure fire, reported Feb. 18, involved a home in the 1200 block of Main Street. Firefighters arrived to find the structure filled with light smoke and a fire that was out. A mini-refrigerator and portable heater were found damaged, Bowen reported, and the cause was determined to be from an overloaded electrical unit. Three cats perished in that incident, he said. Damage was estimated at $1,000.

Firefighters responded to a vehicle-versus-pedestrian accident Feb. 21 at Merced Street and Brookhaven which resulted in minor injuries to one individual who was assessed at the scene by medics and declined transportation by ambulance personnel, Bowen said.

West Side weather

Newman resident Marge Carvalho, an observer for the National Weather Service, reported the following high/low temperatures and rainfall for the past week. Readings for the prior 24-hour period are taken at 5 p.m. daily.

Monday, Feb. 18: 57/33

Tuesday, Feb. 19: 58/31

Wednesday, Feb. 20: 61/36

Thursday, Feb. 21: 59/40, with .35 inches of rain

Friday, Feb. 22: 60/36

Saturday, Feb. 23: 61/30

Sunday, Feb. 24: 65/39