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Details unfold about events leading up to Fremont crash

New details are emerging about some of the events leading up to the DUI accident that killed Andrew Silva in Fremont.
March 27, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The suspect in a drunk driving case that killed a Marine in Fremont is now facing a murder charge. Prosecutors charged 23-year-old Alexander Yohn with gross vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run in the death of 23-year-old Lance Corporal Andrew Silva. Silva had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was thrown from his motorcycle and died immediately.

Yohn, wearing a green Alameda County inmate uniform, waived formal reading of the criminal charges against him and did not enter a plea. Members of his family looked on from the galley as superior court judge Reginald P. Saunders ordered the defendant held without bail.

On Tuesday, Yohn was arrested for suspicion of DUI after police say he struck and killed Silva at the intersection of Fremont Boulevard and Decoto Road. Investigators say the force of the impact from Yohn's Mini Cooper was so strong that Silva was thrown from his bike and was killed immediately from the impact.

From the time word of Silva's death started to spread, the memorial at the site where he died has continued to grow. Family, friends and complete strangers have placed flowers and lit candles in his memory.

"We've had a lot of moms come out, a lot of former Marines and Vietnam Veterans, a lot of people showing up for us, a lot of support has been great," Silva's brother-in-law Linh Nguyen said.

Silva was part of a Marine reserve unit based in San Jose. He had been back in the Bay Area for less than a month after returning from Afghanistan. Silva and his wife Julie have a 2-year-old son named Noah.

Members of Silva's family have stood vigil at the memorial since Tuesday and are only now coming to terms with their loss and the long legal process ahead.

Investigators believe Alexander Yohn was drinking and driving that night. Court records released reveal more about the suspect.

It turns out, Yohn was convicted in Minnesota for drunk driving. In an affidavit he admits to having a shot of whiskey at The Huddle bar in Fremont, around 10 p.m. Monday.

He then drove about two miles to The Mojo Lounge on Peralta Boulevard where he had at least three more shots of whiskey. By the time a friend showed up at Mojo's, around midnight, he was belligerent and drunk. That friend told him not to drive. She even called Yohn's roommate to come get him, but the suspect ignored her and drove away. Fifteen minutes later, police say, he crashed into Silva.

Yohn's family left the Fremont Hall of Justice without speaking to reporters.

"It just shows an act of negligence, like I personally don't drink and drive, so I think anyone should not only think of their own safety, but the safety of others before they get into a vehicle," said Joey Diamond, a friend of Silva's.

Knowing more about their friend's accused killer isn't helping. Silva's wife was at the crash site Thursday night with her family. They had a lot to look forward to. Silva planned to finish college this spring and hoped to get a job in law enforcement.

Fremont Bank has established the Andrew Silva Memorial Fund. They're hoping that money raised can help Silva's widow establish a college fund for their son. Public services for Silva will be held next week.

Fremont Bank has established an account for Silva's wife and young child. Donations can be made at any Fremont Bank branch or by mail to Fremont Bank, Attn: Andrew Silva Memorial Account, P.O. Box #8170, Fremont, CA 94537-8170.

Checks should be made payable to "Andrew Silva Memorial."


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