Silva & son are wounded by White, an off-duty police officer; she’s charged with felony child endangerment and a host of misdemeanors; Officer White continues to walk
OCEANSIDE – It was bound to happen. The way it was all set up. The State’s Attorney General took over the prosecution of Rachel Silva, the woman who was wounded by off-duty San Diego police officer Frank White in an apparent Oceanside road rage incident back on March 15 of this year. She was wounded twice and her son once as it seems she attempted to back up her car after seeing White’s pistol being waved at her.
District Attorney Bonnnie Dumanis is still investigating the nearly 3-month old incident and has yet to charge the officer with anything. White, who was on paid administrative leave, is now at a desk. But the Attorney General’s Office has charged Silva with felony child endangerment and several misdemeanors – two drunken-driving charges, possession of marijuana, driving on a suspended license and driving on a license suspended for a previous DUI conviction.
Silva has been described by a state agent as the aggressor, the person who began the road rage and who threatened White and his wife with her car. Former D.A., Paul Pfingst, said this description of Silva as an aggressive driver who put the officer in fear makes it “virtually impossible for the district attorney to find that the officer had no reasonable cause to fire at Silva’s car . . . Skeptics will claim that this is what the district attorney wanted all along.” You said it, Paul.
The A.G.’s Office has declared that new information about the case – a witness statement, the 911 calls, give them a case to prosecute. An arrest warrant was released Monday, June 9, from their office. As part of the paperwork surrounding the warrant, there is a state agent declaration, who wrote that Silva’s “driving and actions willfully put her son” in “circumstances likely to produce great bodily injury or death.”.
Here is SignOnSanDiego’s version of the story as told by Stephen Duncan, a special agent with the state Department of Justice:
White and his wife were driving south on Old Grove Road in their Mercury Milan. A woman in front of them said she noticed Silva’s Honda Accord “rolling” out of a nearby Shell gas station, making “no attempt to stop.”
In her rearview mirror, the woman said, she saw White’s car “swerve abruptly” into another lane to avoid hitting Silva’s Honda.
White turned right into a Lowe’s shopping center, and Silva quickly crossed three traffic lanes and followed him, tailgating his car. White told his wife, who is a dispatcher for Carlsbad police, to call 911, “which frightened her because he had never asked her to do so before.”
White said he couldn’t see the driver of the Honda, but thought the person had long hair and a light complexion. Silva’s car had dark-tinted rear windows, and a lighter tint on the front side windows.
In the parking lot, Silva drove in front of White’s car, blocking its path, the female witness said. Silva then drove in reverse, in back of White’s Mercury, and pulled forward next to it, so close White said he couldn’t open his door.
White drew his .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, pointed it at Silva, and said, “Police, you need to stop! Police, stop!”.
White then backed up and stopped, planning to get out and read the Accord’s license number. At about the same time, Silva called 911. “There’s a guy who’s pointing a gun at me,” she told the dispatcher. As White began to open his door, Silva started driving in reverse, at an angle. As the two cars passed each other, their side view mirrors made contact, and the right front side of Silva’s Accord then hit the left rear of White’s car.
White opened fire as the cars passed each other, his first round shattering his closed window and passing through Silva’s passenger window, apparently striking Silva’s son. White then fired four more rounds through Silva’s windshield, hitting her twice.
Several gunshots can be heard on a recording of Silva’s 911 call.
“I’ve been shot at,” she tells the dispatcher after the shots are over. The dispatcher asks who had fired at her. “Some guy, a policeman,” Silva responds.
Silva, a single mom -she’s divorced from the boy’s father, a Marine who returned from Iraq in March after the incident – is so lucky. First, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court on her son’s behalf against White, the City of San Diego, the SD Police Department and the police chief.
And second, after reviewing 2500 pages of documents on the case, the AG’s Office concluded that “the circumstances surrounding Rachel Silva’s car striking Officer Frank White’s car were insufficient for the filing of a charge of assault with a deadly weapon or any other assault charge against Rachel Silva.” She is sooooo lucky – she could have been charged with ADW on a police officer.
We should get to know Gary Schons, the senior assistant attorney general in San Diego. While we’re waiting for Carol Lam’s replacement, he’s in charge down here. He believes a crime occurred and that he can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that she is guilty of the charges. He took over the case in April. He is so lucky: Oceanside police said Silva’s blood-alcohol level was 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit, and that she had marijuana in her system. She was driving on a suspended license because of two prior DUI convictions. Officer White, we remember, was never tested for anything. He was so lucky too.
We should get to know Gary Schons. He had a hand in the Blackwater case too.
[Go here for the original article.]