A Tuolumne County Superior Court judge again denied bail for Dr. Danny Anderson pending the outcome of an appeal on his triple manslaughter conviction.
Anderson’s attorney, Nathan Nutting, of Sonora, argued that Anderson should be granted bail because he was not a threat to the community.
“He showed no signs of fleeing in any way,” Nutting said, adding that it was a “far stretch” to characterize him as dangerous.
Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Donald Segerstrom said he could not overlook Anderson’s gross negligence when he passed over double yellow lines on La Grange Road in October 2016, which resulted in a crash that killed three people and injured three others.
“I’m certain he didn’t intend to kill three people on that day, but he did,” Segerstrom said. “Killing three people is a danger to other people in the community.”
Anderson was not present at the hearing. He is in custody at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy awaiting transfer to a permanent facility.
Nutting said Anderson was being treated at a hospital at DVI.
“That wasn’t just something that was being said,” he said. “The wounds have grown to an extent to where he is hospitalized.”
According to Anderson’s probation report, he suffers from Crohn’s disease, diabetes, prostate hypertrophy and autoimmune disease.
Anderson was sentenced by Segerstrom to serve five-years, four-months in state prison for his role in causing the La Grange Road accident.
His earliest possible release date is in May 2021.
Nutting said that Anderson’s attorneys, which include the law office of Nuttall, Coleman & Drandell in Fresno, sought to have Anderson granted bail because “circumstances changed” about his danger as a flight risk following sentencing.
Anderson faced up to 10 years, four months, in prison. Anderson was found guilty of three counts vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, hit and run causing death or permanent serious injury and reckless driving causing injuries, and misdemeanor charge obstructing a police investigation on July 25.
Tuolumne County Deputy District Attorney Samantha Arnerich argued that the bail motion presented no new evidence that the court hadn’t heard already from a new trial motion denied on Jan. 18.
“We are not dealing with a defendant who is accused of a crime, we’re dealing with a convicted defendant,” she said. “This is not a defendant that would be appropriate to grant bail on appeal.”
Nutting reaffirmed the intent of the defense to overturn Anderson’s conviction based on the insufficient representation of his trial attorney, Tom Johnson.
Nutting argued that Johnson failed to call an expert witness that could corroborate a claim by defense witness Christina Hodge that a vehicle crossed the double yellow lines in the opposite direction as Anderson, causing the accident.
“That’s what the appeal is going to be about, the what-ifs,” Nutting said.
Segerstrom said he did not see the evidence cited in the new trial motion as a “close question,” and instead characterized the defense strategy as “Monday morning quarterbacking.”
The defense filed an appeal of Anderson’s conviction with the California Fifth District Court of Appeal at the end of January.
The court of appeal is awaiting the submission of transcripts from court reporters and clerks from the Tuolumne County Superior Court before a review of Anderson’s case can begin.
The review could last six months to more than a year.
No members of the victim’s families were present on Monday. Anderson’s family and wife, Diane Anderson, who is charged as an accessory, were present.
Tina Hoffman, her 16-year-old daughter Trista, and Reinholt John Eismann were killed in October 2016 after Anderson, driving northbound in an Acura MDX, crossed the double yellow lines into the southbound lane to pass two vehicles.
The maneuver caused southbound driver Trista Hoffman to swerve a 2002 Lexus RX300 and crash head-on with a 2009 Toyota Camry that Anderson passed.
Anderson returned to the scene and administered CPR to Tina Hoffman, who was ejected from the front passenger seat into the road.
He left the scene without telling a California Highway Patrol Officer that he crossed the double yellow lines to pass a gray van and the Camry.
Trista’s brother, Dillon Hoffman, sustained two broken legs, her friend, Annie Johnson, sustained a traumatic brain injury, and Camry driver Dorothy Eismann sustained minor injuries.
During his sentencing on Jan. 18, Anderson denied causing the accident.