Almost a year later, the family of Brett Silva, the Pleasant Valley coach who was killed in a head on crash, is still searching for answers, and still wondering why no one has been arrested.
“It just simply isn’t good enough for victims’ families to wait 17 months, on average, to get some kind of result to their case,” said Silva’s brother Rick Silva.
He says the family is frustrated with the process, that – a year later – there is still no verdict, which he says just doesn't work for victims.
“I lost my brother. I haven’t talked to him in a year. Lori hasn't seen her husband. Brett’s soccer team hasn’t seen him in a year. Our family hasn’t seen him in a year, and, in that time, we've been waiting to get some kind of a resolution to this case,” he said.
Silva says there is a report suggesting the driver may have had marijuana, meth, opiates and other things in his system, and he just wants justice for his brother.
“Whatever the evidence calls for him to be charged with, that's what I want him to be charged with; and if you charge him and you win, ok. If you charge him and you lose, ok.”
Silva says asking families in his situation to be patient is hard enough as it is, and to be patient for 17 months is just ridiculous.
“Life has to mean something. When we lose a life, my brother's life, his 2 kids were injured. Life has to matter and that means you need to get after the people you believe did it in whatever way that means, because it's not going to bring Brett back.”
Silva says this process points to something that's wrong in Glenn County, and that's not necessarily the district attorney's doing, but he's the one carrying that burden and someone needs to fix it.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY DWAYNE STEWART WEIGHS IN
Glenn County DA Dwayne Stewart says right now he is trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the drugs for which the driver allegedly tested positive are what caused the crash and are the main factors.
He says that takes time, simply because it's a small office and he doesn't have all that many resources.
“The problem with using drugs, whether illegal or prescription, we have no line in the sand; there’s no line that says ‘oh, you have this amount in your system, you're under the influence,’” Stewart said.
He says right now they have preliminary tests suggesting the driver may have had marijuana, meth, opiates and other things in his system, but they do not yet have confirmatory tests, and he says it's a fine line he has to deal with.
“Just because you have drugs in your system doesn't mean you're guilty of driving under the influence. We have to show that you're impaired, and we have to show that impairment is caused by the drugs at the time of driving,” he said.
That's where they are now, he's trying to connect those dots.
The family is still trying to figure out what is taking so long to convict the person responsible, and Stewart says he simply doesn't have the resources. He's been in office for only 3 years, and in that time has 25 homicide cases, 8 of which they've resolved, and he has almost 20 more that are either filed or waiting.
“I don't have a homicide team, it's me. One guy.”
He says these cases take about 17 months to resolve and he does them in the only fair way he knows how: in the order they were received.
He wants to make sure that he gets the charge right and beyond a reasonable doubt, saying he's doing everything he can, but that, unfortunately, this case will likely take about 6 more months to resolve.
“We have a high standard for taking away somebody's liberty; it's a very good standard, and we try to live up to that standard. If we're going to take somebody’s liberty, we're going to make damn sure that we're doing it the right way,” Stewart said.
He also said it's scary and unfortunate that this person is still out there, but he's not going to rush into it just to get something done.
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