MARTINEZ -- A 17-year-old Concord boy pleaded not guilty in juvenile court Friday to two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter and other charges in the April 7 death of a 41-year-old man and his 9-year-old daughter.
Stoorai Nuri, whose daughter Hadessa and husband Solaiman were fatally struck by an errant SUV as they rode bicycles on a sidewalk on Concord's Treat Boulevard, was held up by a family member as she sobbed outside a Martinez courthouse. She wanted the uninsured driver, Concord resident David Rosen, prosecuted as an adult.
"I'm very upset," Stoorai Nuri said when asked how she is coping. "You try your best day to day. It's never going to be the same. I pray to God, and I have family."
Rosen was charged with two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and charge enhancements for reckless driving, speeding and making an illegal lane change in connection with the deaths of Solaiman and Hadessa Nuri. He is also charged with misdemeanor reckless driving causing bodily injury for injuring 12-year-old Hannah Nuri, the victims' daughter and older sister. Solaiman Nuri and his daughters were wearing bicycle helmets.
Senior deputy district attorney Dan Cabral said that if convicted under the charges, Rosen could be held in a Contra Costa County locked juvenile hall facility until he turns 21, at which time he would be released. Cabral said the DA's Office was not legally able to prosecute him as an adult based on the charges.
"Our hands are tied," Cabral said.
Speaking at Rosen's first court appearance, Judge Lois Haight said that she was unable to order Rosen into the custody of juvenile hall because he was not charged within 48 hours of his arrest. The Concord Police Department brought the case to the DA's Office for review after a comprehensive, two-month investigation; Cabral charged the teen in late July.
"I think he's a dangerous person," Haight said.
When told by the defense attorney that Rosen was no longer driving, the judge said, "Well, that's definitely going to be one of my orders."
Rosen sat slouched over in a courtroom table in a crisp, white dress shirt, spoke only once, "yes," that he understood the judge's order that he is not to consume any drugs or alcohol, and to drive nothing with a motor other than a "lawn mower." His parents told the judge that he has not been driving, and has been minding a 10 p.m. curfew.
Rosen is also charged with two unrelated misdemeanors that prosecutors say occurred in Walnut Creek on March 30 and March 31: minor in possession of alcohol, and possession of a butterfly knife with a blade over two inches long.
Rosen and his parents left out a courthouse backdoor after the hearing and did not address the media. Rosen's counsel, Martinez attorney Peter Coleridge, declined to comment on the case.
Michael Cardoza, who is pursing a lawsuit on behalf of the Nuri family, said the tragedy is compounded by the fact Rosen's parents allowed their son to driving uninsured. This limits the amount of money the widow could seek in civil court to compensate the loss of the family breadwinner. Solaiman Nuri worked as a driver at the Port of Oakland.
"Mrs. Nuri is particularly distraught that no one has reached out; they've done absolutely nothing," Cardoza said of the Rose family.
"I just want justice," Stoorai Nuri said.
Rosen returns to court Sept. 7 for a pretrial conference, at which time attorneys could set a trial date or discuss a possible plea deal disposition.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-16-84. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.