Concord

Teen severely burned when clothes ignite

A teenager suffered severe burns Wednesday night after his gas-soaked clothes caught fire from a cigarette near the entrance to the Concord BART station, police said.

Officers found the boy on the ground and conscious near the agent's booth after being called to the station at 11:31 p.m., BART police Lt. Aaron Ledford said. He suffered burns to his chest and hands and was airlifted to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, he said.

The boy told police he was a passenger in a car taking him to BART and had gas on his clothes because he had been doing work on a vehicle. The boy told police that as he was being dropped off, the driver lit a cigarette, and the boy's clothes ignited, Ledford said.

Police are investigating the boy's version of events, but the incident appears to be an accident, Ledford said.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

Antioch

Bicyclist dies after collision with vehicle

An Antioch bicyclist died Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after police said he tried to run a red light and was hit by a vehicle.

An ambulance took the 70-year-old rider to a hospital after the collision happened about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Auto Center Drive and West 18th Street, according to Antioch police Sgt. Dimitri Barakos. He was lying in the street with head and leg injuries when police arrived, Barakos said.


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The man, identified by the Contra Costa County Coroner as Dave Combs Jr. of Antioch, died Thursday morning.

Police said a 21-year-old Antioch man was driving the vehicle, the make of which they did not release. Witnesses told police that the bicyclist did not wait at a red light while traveling north on Auto Center Drive, and that the driver had the green light as he was going west on West 18th Street.

Police did not identify the driver of the vehicle.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

San Ramon

Florida man arrested in pair of bank heists

A fingerprint lifted from the door of a San Ramon bank led to the arrest of a 35-year-old Florida man, who admitted to twice robbing the same bank branch last year, police said Thursday.

Benjamin Matthew Kairalla robbed the Bank of the West on Sunset Drive on July 1 and again Dec. 6, police said. A fingerprint on the inside of a bank door, lifted from the first robbery, and security camera footage captured during the second robbery led police to Kairalla, who was in custody in Palm Beach, Fla., on five drug-related warrants, police said.

Detectives traveled to Florida last week and interviewed Kairalla, who detailed his involvement in the two robberies last year.

Following Kairalla's confession, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office filed two counts of robbery with enhancements. Kairalla remains in custody on $100,000 bail.

-- Kristin J. Bender, Staff

Pittsburg

Mom, son sentenced for income tax fraud

A Pittsburg mother and son were sentenced to prison for conspiring to file phony tax returns, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday.

As part of a plea agreement, Tony Gilard, 45, and Tierre Crummie, 25, were sentenced Wednesday to 37 months and 15 months in prison, respectively, and ordered to pay $688,687 in restitution, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

Authorities said Gilard used other people's personal information to file fake federal income tax returns with the IRS, while Crummie provided his mother with people's bank account information and email addresses.

A search of the defendants' Pittsburg home in April 2009 uncovered notebooks with names and personal information of others, as well as $69,800, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In all, the scheme included 91 false filings, claiming $688,687 in federal income tax returns.

A second son, 27-year-old Kingsley Murdoch, has pleaded guilty to a charge of lying before a grand jury to impede a federal investigation.

-- David DeBolt, Staff

Rodeo

Family escapes flames as apartment burns

A mother and her four children escaped after their second-story apartment went up in flames Thursday, a fire battalion chief said.

Fire crews arrived at 9:32 a.m. to find flames coming from the apartment in the 1200 block of Trigger Court, but the woman and her four children were already outside, Battalion Chief Bryan Craig said. Crews were able to enter the apartment, and brought the fire under control in 2 minutes.

No injuries were reported, Craig said.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

San Francisco

Antioch man arrested in Bayview shooting

An Antioch man has been arrested in connection with a shooting that critically wounded another man in San Francisco's Bayview District on Tuesday evening, police said.

Police identified the suspect as 24-year-old Alfonzo Beasley.

The shooting was reported about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday in the 1500 block of Revere Avenue, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said.

The victim, a man in his 20s, was found shot in the torso and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

A short time later, officers found the car believed to have been used in the shooting near Newall Street and La Salle Avenue, but the driver accelerated away. He eventually got out of the car and ran from police, who caught up to him on Dorman Avenue and arrested him.

The suspect, later identified as Beasley, was booked on suspicion of attempted homicide, carrying a concealed firearm, evading police, resisting arrest, hit-and-run and a probation violation, among other offenses, Shyy said.

-- Bay City News Service

Bay Area

Contra Costa reports second swine flu death

The flu-related death toll rose to 20 in the Bay Area this week as Napa County reported its first fatal swine flu case and Contra Costa County reported its second.

Because the state requires reporting of influenza deaths only in people younger than 65, the number of flu-related deaths could actually be higher than what has been reported among nine Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County, officials said.

That age requirement began after the swine flu pandemic of 2009-10, when 203,000 people died worldwide, including more than 600 Californians.

Napa County health officials reported their first fatal H1N1 case Wednesday as an 84-year-old man with multiple medical issues, becoming the first Bay Area county to report a fatal flu victim over the age of 65. And health officials in Contra Costa County said that while their second victim, a 48-year-old man, died back in December, it was confirmed Wednesday that he died from swine flu.

-- Erin Ivie, Staff

Stockton

Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy

A Roman Catholic diocese filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday after paying out millions of dollars to plaintiffs who made sexual abuse allegations during the past two decades.

The Diocese of Stockton, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento, serves about 250,000 Catholics in a region spanning more than 10,000 square miles. It has paid more than $14 million in settlements and judgments in sexual abuse cases, and its insurance providers have paid an additional $18 million.

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, who leads the diocese, said, "I think it's the right thing to do," and "it will allow us to continue our work as a church."

-- Associated Press