Three inmates died over the weekend at the California Institution for Men where former Tuolumne County doctor Danny Anderson is being held..
One died on Saturday and two more on Sunday. Nine inmates have died and 457 have tested positive for COVID-19, including Anderson.
Anderson is seeking early release due to the virus and his compromised immune system. Anderson is at risk, his lawyers say, because he is almost 73 and suffers from asthma, diabetes and an autoimmune disease.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said the deaths appear to be from complications related to COVID-19 but the exact cause of death has not been determined.
The names of the inmates were not disclosed.
All three died in a hospital.
Anderson’s attorneys filed an emergency motion to the Fifth District Court of Appeal on Thursday seeking his release.
They’ve been attempting to have Anderson released since early April because they say Anderson is at particularly high risk.
Fresno-based attorney Roger Nuttall, who’s representing Anderson, said “Exactly what we hoped wouldn’t happen has happened.”
All the inmates in the state who have died from the disease were at the Chino prison, including one who was housed in the same dorm as Anderson at one point.
More than 3,500 inmates have been released from California prisons due to the pandemic out of concern that the notoriously overcrowded prison system could serve as an epicenter for a wider outbreak.
In July 2018, a jury found Danny Anderson guilty of three counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, reckless driving, hit and run, and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a police investigation.
He was sentenced to five years, four months in prison and has served more than a year of that time at the prison in Chino.
Tuolumne County Superior Court Presiding Judge Donald Segerstrom denied a motion for Danny Anderson’s release on April 10.
On Oct. 21, 2016, Danny Anderson was driving north on La Grange Road near Bonds Flat Road in his white Acura MDX with his wife, Diane, in the passenger seat when authorities say he caused a head-on collision between two other cars by illegally crossing over the double yellow lines.
Tina Hoffman, 51, her daughter, Trista Hoffman, 16, and Reinholt Eismann, 72, died as a result of the collision, while three others suffered major injuries.
Anderson’s wife, Diane Anderson, was also convicted of felonies for being an accessory to vehicular manslaughter and failing to perform a duty after an accident, as well as misdemeanors for concealing or destroying evidence and obstructing a law enforcement investigation.
She was sentenced to 10 months in county jail and released on Jan. 13 with orders to complete 30 days of work release and 300 hours of community service.