So, what was so secret about naming the person in such a serious wreck? Is she THAT Keller?
Authorities say Ashley Nicole Keller,23, was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic Feb. 6 on Ocean View Boulevard in a white Chevrolet Corvette when she lost control and struck four cars. Keller and her male passenger, who had to be extricated, were injured. Keller now faces one misdemeanor charge of reckless driving in the accident which totaled her 2014 Corvette. Four other motorists reported minor pain, police said.
“Ashley Nicole Keller did unlawfully drive a vehicle upon a street and highway in willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons and property,” the complaint, filed March 28 by deputy district attorney Todd Hornik, alleges.Keller, who court records show had two minor traffic offenses in 2015 and 2016, faces up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in
fines, if convicted. No attorney information for Keller was listed on the court’s website. The Pacific Grove Police Department refused to identify Keller, whose name was only made public when the criminal complaint was filed.
In an initial response to the revelations, which were published in The Pine Cone Feb. 14, Pacific Grove Police Chief Cathy Madalone — who was hired after most of the accidents occurred — posted a message on Facebook Feb. 20 that said there’s nothing wrong with the department’s practices. According to a Monterey resident who saw the story but did not want her name used in this story, a PGPD supervisor told her some of the department’s officers are not trained to investigate vehicle accidents.
In response to that claim, police administrative services manager Jocelyn Francis told The Pine Cone that, while sworn officers who graduated from California police academies were formerly required to undergo additional training to investigate traffic collisions, the requirement no longer exists.
– In January 2019, a 68-year-old woman ran through a stop sign on Laurel Avenue, struck a father and his two children who were in a pickup truck headed down Forest Avenue, and then crashed her Lexus into the front of Pacific Grove Hardware. Although the woman caused more than $10,000 dollars in property damage, and numerous firefighters and police officers had to respond to the crash, Pacific Grove Police told The Pine Cone at the time that they did not cite her.
– In March 2018 at about 1:45 a.m., a man on Short Street was driving a Toyota pickup truck when he slammed into a driver in a Volkswagen sedan traveling on Cedar. Though the police said the Toyota driver was at fault in the accident, which wrecked the VW but didn’t injure anyone, police did not issue him a citation.
– In January 2018, a Pacific Grove man driving a GMC Sierra truck crashed into four parked vehicles on the 700 block of Lighthouse Avenue, causing thousands of dollars in damage. Though the driver told police he was reaching for a beverage when he swerved into the cars, police did not give him a ticket.
– In November 2019, a 15-year-old girl was walking in the crosswalk at Sunset and 19th and was struck by a car whose female driver didn’t see her. She was injured and treated at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. The driver was not given a ticket.
– In January, a male motorist struck a 15-year-old boy riding a bicycle in the crosswalk of Sunset and 19th. Pacific Grove police did not cite the driver for hitting the teen, who suffered minor injuries.
– In October 2019, a woman driving an older sedan plowed through a fence and three retaining walls at Lovers Point. She was not ticketed, either, police said, after attributing the incident to “mechanical failure.”
Morro Bay chief Amy Christey takes the hot seat at PGPD.
“Chief Christey’s hands-on approach to community policing, her emphasis on customer service, her understanding of the needs of a small-town coastal community and her track record as a team player makes her a terrific fit for our Police Department, the municipal organization and the community,” Harvey said.
Vicki Myers served as Pacific Grove’s police chief before Belcher took over on an interim basis in December 2015. She served in a dual role as chief of Pacific Grove and Seaside from 2012 until Pacific Grove terminated its contract with Seaside pertaining to Myers running its police department in September 2015 and gave her a 90-day notice.
Tom Frutchey, who has since left his role as Pacific Grove city manager, told The Herald last year that the split was fairly amicable. He cited two “no-confidence” votes by the Pacific Grove police union and a citywide survey that found residents would like to keep its own separate police department as reasons for the city moving on from Myers.
What was wrong with the old one? Why not get out and write some tickets instead of teasing people with a robo-safety patrol?
As vehicles pass the trailer, their speed is displayed, as well as red and blue strobe light will blink to catch the attention of motorists. The “speed” trailer cost the department $8,000, which was taken out of the general city funds, said Cmdr. Cassie McSorely.
“We get complaints about speeding cars in every neighborhood. Traffic and speeding is one of the main concerns in our community,” McSorely said.
The Pacific Grove Police Department said a lot of drivers are from out-of-town and sometimes they don’t realize the speed limits are so low. So they’re using a special tool called Lidar, to detect speeds before the driver even sees the officer.
It was not Lidar, but a huge building that slowed down an out of town driver last week
Sgt. Lafata pulled over two drivers for speeding, among other violations. Both drivers got warnings this time. He said it pays to own up to your mistakes.
“To be honest with you that’s something that we don’t really get very often in this line of work, so I do like to reward that,” said Sgt. Lafata.
If Lidar isn’t working correctly, Sgt. Lafata said any citations written during its use are thrown out.
Cassie McSorley, who retired last July from the Salinas department after 30 years in law enforcement, has taken the job on a full-time but temporary basis while Pacific Grove searches for a permanent hire.
Although there are two vacant commander positions in Pacific Grove, Police Chief Vicki Myers plans to convert one of them to a civilian manager position to save money, McSorley said.
The department has been without a commander since Cmdr. John Miller left for a job with another Northern California police agency several weeks ago.
McSorley said she was “very much enjoying” her retirement but wanted to help out. “I thought what the heck, Pacific Grove is a great city.”