Teen suspect reportely will turn himself in today
Richard Trelease was still exhibiting some signs of life when police found him wedged in his overturned car Saturday night. There was no sign of the other two teens who survived the crash. Trelease was later pronounced dead at the scene.
South Lake Tahoe Police quickly located the 16-year-old girl who was a passenger, but they are still waiting to talk with a 17-year-old South Lake Tahoe boy who they believe was driving the car at the time of the crash. Investigators said the boy, who is facing possible charges of manslaughter, has already engaged a lawyer and is scheduled to surrender himself to police today.
According to investigators, all three teens were at a party. Trelease had been drinking so the 17-year-old offered to drive. The group was headed east on Pioneer Trail when they passed a police officer, who estimated that the car was traveling at about 65 to 70 mph. The officer made a U-turn and started to pursue. The teens entered a curve near Blackwood Road, crossed over the center line, sideswiped another car and then veered off the north shoulder. The car hit a tree, launching it into the air where it rolled before landing on the roof.
None of the teens appeared to be wearing seat belts, yet the girl walked away with only a broken wrist, the 17-year-old with cuts and bruises, investigators said.
On Tuesday, Trelease’s mother Susan Hopkins said she has many questions.
“I’ve heard a lot of different things. I hope it was quick. I hope he wasn’t in pain. I wish a lot, I wish a lot of things. It’s hard to believe that two people walked away and left my son for dead,” she said. “Last night kids had a vigil at the crash site. All the kids walked me through it, and showed me where the car wrecked. My son has a lot of friends. They had a candle. They hugged, prayed and cried. Somebody made a wreath for me to go hang on a tree.
“I know in my heart that it was an accident,” Hopkins said. “I know that these kids did not intentionally kill my child. I can’t be angry that they made it. I just have to stick close with my faith. I just think walking away was wrong.”
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