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Man behind wheel in fatal collision prison bound

Co-defendant gets jail time for lying to police

Man behind wheel in fatal collision prison bound

Jose Jesus Aguilar


POSTED February 12, 2014 6:12 p.m.

The Delhi man who was behind the wheel in a fatal collision that killed a Delhi teenager is headed to prison, while his female accomplice who tried to hide him from law enforcement, was sentenced to jail.

Jose Jesus Aguilar, 20, was sentenced Wednesday in Stanislaus County Superior Court to seven years in prison for his role in the death of Taylor Vessel, 18.

 

 His co-defendant, Natasha Titsworth, 20, was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of formal probation, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced.

 

In earlier court proceedings in December, Aguilar entered a no contest plea to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and admission of an enhancement for fleeing the scene of a fatal wreck.

Titsworth pled no contest to a felony accessory charge.

 

Shortly before 3:30 a.m. Nov. 3, 2012, Turlock Police Officer Nimrod Khamo spotted several individuals and a few cars parked behind a closed business at Marshall Street and Golden State Boulevard.

 

Aguilar and Vessel got into a Chevy Malibu and sped off before the officer could turn on his lights and sirens to attempt to stop the fleeing vehicle.

 

The Malibu accelerated to an estimated 100 mph, according to the police report. Aguilar turned the vehicle onto F Street, at which point it was briefly lost to the officer. It was spotted again as it turned onto Lander Avenue. According to the court records, Aguilar ran a stop sign, hit a tree and subsequently a house on Lander Avenue at about 50 mph.

 

Witnesses to the crash told the police that the male driver fled from the scene.

Vessel was partially ejected during the collision. Residents and emergency personnel tried to revive her, but she died within minutes of the crash, according to the police report.

Receipts in the car and other information gave investigators leads and led to surveillance video that pointed to Aguilar as the driver. The Turlock Police Department released surveillance video from a convenience store on Golden State Boulevard that included an image of a woman, later identified as Titsworth, who was the owner of the Malibu. She was with an unidentified man deemed a person of interest in the case. The man was later identified as Aguilar.

Titsworth, a friend of the deceased, lied to Turlock PD in an attempt to conceal the driver's identity by falsely asserting that her car had been stolen before it was involved in the wreck, according to the district attorney’s office.

Aguilar was apprehended hiding in his mother's closet and arrested a few weeks after the surveillance photos were released.

Investigators questioned Aguilar's parents and they both stated that their son emotionally confessed to both of them at different times that he was the driver during the fatal wreck.

Aguilar’s entered his no contest plea just as his preliminary hearing was scheduled to begin and after his request to obtain a new attorney was denied by the presiding judge.

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