Judge keeps driver in fatal crash in juvenile detention

A judge has ruled that a 17-year-old boy accused of crashing a car carrying four of his Torrey Pines High School classmates as they left a party, killing one of the boys, will be held at Juvenile Hall until at least Oct. 19.

Judge George "Woody" Clarke made the ruling Wednesday morning. The teenager is charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and DUI with injury.

Defense attorney Robert Bourne argued unsuccessfully that the boy should be released to his parents because he is an exceptional student'' and has no history of problems with school administrators.

The high school senior is also a star athlete who just a few months ago made the San Diego Hall of Champions All-League team for lacrosse.

But Deputy District Attorney Aimee McLeod told Judge George Woody'' Clarke that the youth may have a drug problem, and that his parents had been testing him for drug use.

McLeod added that right before the accident, the teen was speeding and that his blood-alcohol content was 0.10 percent about an hour after the crash.

The boy wore a Juvenile Hall-issued orange shirt and navy blue pants at today's detention hearing. His hands were shackled and he did not look at his parents in the courtroom.

When the judge asked the boy's parents if they wanted to say anything on behalf of their son, the father declined and deferred any comment to Bourne.

Prosecutors said the teenager will not be tried as an adult.

McLeod declined to elaborate on what the teen faces if he's convicted, but did point out the difference between juvenile and adult court.

"In adult court, the focus is punishment"' the prosecutor said outside court. "In Juvenile Court, the focus is rehabilitation. Regardless of the crime, we are very focused on the minor and the family. Some consequences are custody, some are programs and sometimes it's a combination of both."

It is the newspaper's policy not to indentify juveniles accused of crimes.

An initial California Highway Patrol report said a combination of alcohol and speed contributed to the pre-dawn accident.

Alexander Michael Capozza, 17, died at 1:43 a.m. Sunday in the 5000 block of La Granada in Rancho Santa Fe just past the intersection of Rambla de las Flores near the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Course. The speeding 2008 Mazda 3 he was in with four friends crashed and rolled several times, ending up in some bushes, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.

Authorities said another passenger, identified as Jamie Arnold, was not wearing a seat belt and was critically injured in the accident.

But in a statement released Wednesday by Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Arnold -now listed in good condition - said he was wearing a seat

belt when the car crashed.

Arnold suffered a scalp injury, concussion, minor neck injury and a right elbow contusion. He is expected to make a full recovery and return home soon.

"I would like to thank all of my family, friends and well-wishers for their support during this difficult time,'' the teen said in the statement. "I was in fact wearing a seat belt and fell fortunate to have walked away from this tragic accident with only minor injuries.



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