LOS BANOS - The suspected drunken driver involved in a traffic collision
that killed a Los Banos fifth-grader earlier this month appeared in a
Los Banos court this week, as family finalized funeral plans.
Justin Nappi, 20, was at the Robert M. Falasco Justice Center on Wednesday
for a preliminary examination and bail review hearing.
Nappi stood without speaking, wearing glasses and a gray T-shirt over a
blue sweat shirt, while Judge John Parker and attorneys set the next hearing
for Jan. 9 at 1:30 p.m. in Los Banos.
He has been charged with one count of gross vehicular manslaughter, a count
of driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a measurable
blood alcohol level causing injury. All three counts are felonies and
carry enhancements for injuries to other passengers. Nappi pleaded not
guilty to the charges via a video arraignment on Nov. 7.
The hearing was days after youth football players and coaches remembered
Jayden Thomas, 10, with memorial games and fund-raisers. His teammates
took to the Veterans Memorial Stadium field Saturday night, carrying a
blown-up photo of Jayden, and formed a No. 7, Jayden's jersey number,
on the field while holding glow sticks.
Jayden, a Los Banos Wildcats peewee quarterback, was killed Nov. 3 on his
way home from a football game in Manteca. Jayden and his family were riding
in a 1992 BMW, struck on its passenger side by a 1991 Chevy pickup driven
by Nappi. Police said Nappi ran a stop sign at the intersection of Place
Road and East B Street. The tragedy set off an outpouring of emotion from
the community, which held a vigil and fund-raisers the next day.
Jayden's visitation service is planned from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Whitehurst
Funeral Chapel, 1840 Center Ave. The funeral is 10 a.m. Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Travis Colby would not comment on the strength
of the case, but said Nappi's blood-alcohol content was above the
legal limit of .08 percent.
"This case is basically a tragedy for everybody involved," Colby said.
Court records did not show Nappi's blood-alcohol level from the night
of the collision, but stated he had given blood after he was taken to
Memorial Hospital Los Banos.
The police report, which was included in the court file, stated Nappi smelled
of alcohol, slurred his speech, was unable to walk without assistance
and fell asleep during questioning. Others had tried to keep him from
driving that night, according to the document.
Jeffrey Tenenbaum, Nappi's attorney, said he was retained by his client on Wednesday,
and will begin the discovery process.
"Obviously, this is a very difficult time for everybody on both sides,"
Tenenbaum said. "Justin and his family are devastated at what happened
and their hearts go out to them (the Thomas family)."