Court documents show 13-YO girl struck by Sunnyvale driver is in coma
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KTVU) - A 13-year-old girl, who was a victim in the Sunnyvale car crash, is now in a coma, court records indicate. Two other victims being treated at San Jose's Valley Medical Center were upgraded from serious to fair condition on Thursday.
Meanwhile, police continue to look into what the suspect was doing shortly before Tuesday's carnage.
Isaiah Peoples, the 34-year-old Sunnyvale man now charged with the attempted murder of eight people after allegedly plowing into them with his car, was on his way to pick up food for his Bible study group before the violent collision, authorities said on Thursday at a news conference.
Sunnyvale Dept. of Public Safety Chief Phan Ngo also highlighted some new facts that emerged from the high-profile and unusual injury-collision, which occurred Tuesday about 6:30 p.m. on El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Saratoga Road. Witnesses told police that Peoples didn't slow down and appeared to intentionally harm the eight people in the intersection when he ran into them with his black, four-door sedan. Video taken by witnesses at the scene showed Peoples on his knees praising Jesus as he was handcuffed.
"We still do not know what his motives were," Ngo said. "The only thing that we can confirm at this time is that on the day of the incident, he had picked up some food and was on his way to deliver the food to his Bible study group."
The other new details that Ngo highlighted include:
* Peoples had no prior criminal history.
* He served in the Army as a sergeant and was currently working as a finance auditor for Department of Defense contractor. He had an honorable discharge.
* He had a disassembled, non-operarable shotgun in trunk.
* The only contact he ever had with Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety was when he lost something in February 2018.
* He has two Facebook accounts and no other social media accounts.
* At this time, Ngo said there no indication to any ties to terrorism.
* Police believe the act was "deliberate" because of physical evidence at the scene and witness statements. When pressed, Ngo would not comment on whether Peoples had confessed or not or admitted to the act.
*When Peoples was taken into custody he didn't act unusually or in a "bizarre" manner.
In interviews with KTVU on Wednesday, his family countered that Peoples suffers from PTSD and is a good, church-going man.
His mother, Leevell Peoples, said she found out about the collision like most people did -- on the news.
"I was looking for the color of his car, because I was like, 'Oh no. Maybe he was out there, but I didn't see his car," Leevell said.
"He's never been in any trouble in his life," she said, describing shock as her initial reaction. She said he was a sharpshooter in the Army, a veteran who came back with PTSD from Iraq.
Lt. Emanuel L. Ortiz confirmed that Peoples served as a civil affairs specialist in the Army Reserve from March 2004 to July 2009, attaining the rank of sergeant. He deployed to Iraq from June 2005 to May 2006.
"I asked him like two weeks ago. I said, 'you're still taking your meds, right?' And he said, 'Yes. All the time,'" Leevell said. She was not aware of what kind of medication he was on, only that it was for PTSD and that he got out of a veteran's hospital in 2015.
In a later on-camera interview, the mother said she was sorry this had happened, but that her son didn't do it on purpose. She said Peoples may have suffered a seizure or that his car malfunctioned.
Peoples is being held at Santa Clara County Jail. He is set to be arraigned Friday in San Jose.
Four other people, including a 9-year-old boy, are still hospitalized but are in stable condition. Two of the pedestrians, including 15-year-old Miguel Balbuena, were treated and released at the scene.