The man accused in the drunken driving crash that killed a Los Banos fifth-grader appeared in court Wednesday.
Justin Nappi, 20, faces charges of one count of gross vehicular manslaughter, a count of driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a measurable blood alcohol level causing injury. All three counts are felonies and carry enhancements for injuries to other passengers. Nappi pleaded not guilty to the charges via a video arraignment on Nov. 7.
Nappi did not speak during a hearing that extended the discovery phase, with each side presenting and collecting evidence, to the next hearing, set for 1:30 p.m. March 27 in the Robert M. Falasco Justice Center in Los Banos. Judge Harry Jacobs presided.
Volta Elementary fifth-grader Jayden Thomas, 10, was killed Nov. 3 on his way home from a Los Banos Wildcats peewee football game in Manteca. Jayden and his family were riding in a 1992 BMW. It was struck on its passenger side by a 1991 Chevy pickup. Police allege Nappi ran a stop sign at the intersection of Place Road and East B Street.
Jayden's parents and two sisters were injured in the accident, but have since returned home.
The community held a vigil and began raising money the next day for the family. Jayden's teammates played games in his honor and held a ceremony in his memory.
Several members of the Thomas family wore T-shirts and sweatshirts in the courtroom emblazoned with Jayden's name.
Court records did not show Nappi's blood-alcohol level from the night of the collision, but stated blood was drawn after he was taken to Memorial Hospital Los Banos.
The police report, which was included in the court file, stated Nappi smelled of alcohol, slurred his speech, was unable to walk without assistance and fell asleep during questioning. Others had tried to keep Nappi from driving that night, according to the document.
Nappi remains in the John Lotarroca Correctional Facility in lieu of $400,000 bail.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.