Contra Costa County


On Sunday, August 30, Contra Costa County firefighters responded to a report of a 42-year-old male who had crashed on his mountain bike at Castle Rock Park in Walnut Creek.

CoNFIRE-rescueAccording to reports, firefighters had to hike into the incident where they located a man who was 2-miles from the park entrance on a trail. Once located, the man was not alert and confused while being strapped to a back board.

This was a joint operation between the Sheriffs office and CONFIRE who carried him two-miles to an awaiting ambulance.

Agencies involved include the East Bay Regional Park District Police, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, Contra Costa County Sheriffs Office and the State Parks.

No further details were provided.


Update (11:15am)
shortly after the original post, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District released the following information:

Contra Costa Fire and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office participated in 3 rescues yesterday, marking the first time that the joint effort between the the two agencies participated in a live rescue.

The first incident occurred at 11:12am when Contra Costa County Fire Engine 8 responded to a report of a bicyclist down with unknown injuries. The Patient was reported on the Castle Rock Trail in Mt. Diablo State Park and had accessed from a trail head in Walnut Creek. Exact location and distance of patient from the trailhead was unknown.

Initial patient contact was made by lifeguards who responded from the nearby swimming pool. Engine 8 crew hiked in approximately 1.5 miles and met up with an East Bay Regional Parks (EBRPD) representative who shuttled them in a 4 wheel drive vehicle an approximate another half mile to the patient. Patient was assessed and packaged for possible head injury. The trail to the scene would not accommodate emergency vehicles and ground transport out would have been extremely rough.

Engine 8 communicated with Contra Costa County Sheriff Helicopter STARR 1 and requested a Short Haul rescue.

The STARR 1 crew on this day consisted of a Contra Costa County Fire Captain/Paramedic and a CCCSO Search and Rescue member (Flight Rescue Technicians). Flight rescue technicians landed, further assessed patient, confirmed patient packaging and transported patient to awaiting ambulance via haul line.

In addition to this incident, STARR 1 responded to two additional rescues in the County.

The second call came in at 2:06pm. A patient with a reported leg injury was located approximately 2 miles in from the Mitchell Canyon Entrance to Mt Diablo State Park. STARR 1 responded with Engine 11, and arrived overhead and located the patient approximately 4-5 miles in and near the top of the mountain. After guiding in State Parks personnel they assessed the patient and determined there was no medical need. STARR 1 cleared the scene and patient was transported down the mountain by the park rangers.

The third rescue came in at 2:34pm. This was a San Ramon Valley Fire (SRVFD) assist. As STARR 1 cleared the second incident on Mt Diablo, they heard the dispatch for a fall at “Rock City” on the back side of Mt Diablo. They were overhead within 4 minutes, and at the request of SRVFD units, assisted in locating the patient. STARR 1 landed and flight rescue technicians made patient contact, initiated care (including splinting of a fractured leg) until SRVFD arrived and took over patient care.

The video is of the first rescue.


File Photo

Between January and August 15 2015 over 4,549 fires have burned 144,253 acres throughout California – more than twice the acres of the five-year average according to CAL FIRE. [1] Long-term drought has led to drier than normal vegetation that continues “significant fire potential”[2] through September.

Diablo Fire Safe Council (DFSC) is encouraging neighbors to help neighbors as the surest way to prevent wildfire. “Your home is only as safe from wildfire as your neighbor’s,” says Cheryl Miller, Executive Coordinator DFSC.

This Fall join your neighbors to protect your home from wildfire. Cost-share funding of up to $5,000 per project is available to groups of neighbors to hire contractors to reduce fuel loads and create defensible space around your homes. Neighbors can use cost share funding for chipping or green waste removal of homeowner cut material, dead tree removal, tree thinning (cutting of small trees) or “limbing-up”, brush cutting, goat grazing and mowing or “weed whacking” (as a part of a larger project).

Cost share funds need to be matched dollar for dollar with cash contributions or sweat equity. Download an application at or contact Cheryl Miller, Executive Coordinator. Email: Phone: (510) 282-1265.

During 2015 – 2016, DFSC is working with interested stakeholders and residents to develop an Action Plan as a part of Clayton Morgan Territory Fire Safe 2015. For more information on the planning process see

Funding provided by a grant from the State of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Fund (


Information provided by the Officer of Supervisor Mary Piepho

The California Highway Patrol reported Sunday morning that officers responded to two separate accidents early Sunday morning which left one person dead and two others with major injuries.

Marsh Creek Road:
Early this morning, at approximately 1:25 AM, a 21 year old motorcyclist from Clayton was heading east on Marsh Creek Road, west of Morgan Territory at an unknown rate of speed. For yet to be determined reasons, the motorcyclist allowed his 2003 Suzuki GSX-R759 to travel off of the paved roadway, where it collided with a posted regulatory sign.

Unfortunately, the driver was ejected from his motorcycle as a result of this impact, and succumbed to his injuries at the collision scene. As of 7:36 AM, the family of the driver could not be reached and therefore has not been notified of his passing. No other vehicles appear to have been involved.

This traffic collision is still pending further investigation and anyone who may have witnessed this collision or the events leading up to it are asked to please contact CHP – Contra Costa at 925.646.4980.

Kirker Pass

At approximately 2:59 AM, a 1997 Honda Civic being driven by a 37 year old female, veered off the roadway of southbound Kirker Pass Road, south of Hess Road, traveled through a barbwire fence, and down a steep embankment.

The driver and her 42 year old male passenger sustained major injuries as a result of this crash. It’s unknown at this time if drugs and/or alcohol were a factor in this collision.

This traffic collision is still pending further investigation and anyone who may have witnessed this collision or the events leading up to it are asked to please contact CHP – Contra Costa at 925.646.4980.

Information provided by CHP-Contra Costa


The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is getting innovative with the way it does business and serves its community. It’s recently teamed up with the Sheriff’s office in providing Air Operations and more recently, CCCFPD partnered with AMR ambulance to provide pre-hospital care. This ‘Alliance’ assures the right resources are being dispatched at the right time and in a cost effective way.

Here is a short video explaining “The Alliance”

Information provided by the Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County



A public hearing has been scheduled to determine if a sexually violent predator should be placed at a Concord home once he is released from custody.

The Department of State Hospitals is seeking to place Fraisure Smith, 51, in a three-bedroom, two-bath 1,500 square-foot home, located in the 1500 block of Amhurst Way in Concord.

Smith was sentenced to prison in 2006 after he committed rape by force, and assault to commit a specified sex offense, according to police.

In July, Smith was scheduled be housed at a residence in Fairfield, as part of the state’s Conditional Release Program (CONREP), but the property owner had second thoughts and withdrew that location from consideration. Smith was also to be placed at a home in Suisun City, but that move was blocked because the home was close to a junior college.

A public hearing regarding the Department of State Hospitals’ placement recommendation is scheduled for Friday, September 25, 2015 at 9:00am at the Solano County Superior Court, 600 Union Ave. in Fairfield.

The Concord Police Department, Concord City Attorney’s Office and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office will oppose the placement of this sexually violent predator in the City of Concord and in Contra Costa County.

Public comment may be sent to the Concord City Attorney’s Office at 1950 Parkside Dr. MS 08, Concord, CA 94519 and for more information, please visit the Megan’s law website at: <a href=””></a>.

For information regarding the placement hearing process members of the public may contact Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Andrea Tavernier at <a href=””></a>



ClaycordInformation Provided by CLAYCORD


MARTINEZ, CA – The Contra Costa Area office of the California Highway Patrol will be conducting a “Sobriety Checkpoint” starting on Friday August 28, 2015 at a to be determined location within Unincorporated Contra Costa County.

This safety event will be conducted from 9PM to 3AM. Traffic volume permitting, all vehicles will be checked, and drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can expect to be arrested. In addition, officers will conduct driver’s license checks on motorists stopped at the checkpoint.

The event is part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign. In addition to this press release, we will use our CHP-Contra Costa Facebook and CHP-Contra Costa Twitter pages to provide messaging to encourage the use of occupant restraints, adherence to the speed limit, and sober driving.


Contra Costa Regional Medical Center’s (CCRMC) Cancer Program has received the 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. CCRMC was the only hospital in California to win the prestigious award this year.

The Chicago-based Commission on Cancer recognizes accredited cancer programs that achieve excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. The Commission recently recognized what it described as an “elite group” of 20 cancer programs in the United States, including CCRMC, surveyed during the first six months of 2015. CCRMC’s Cancer Program also won the commission’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2009.

“The common perception is that public hospitals like ours can’t provide first-class cancer care. But, in fact, the care our patients get here is the same level of care they’d receive at the best hospitals in the country. This award proves that,” said Dr. Michael Gynn, a surgeon who chairs CCRMC’s cancer committee.

Among those grateful for the exceptional care he received at CCRMC is 67-year-old Frank Bills of Concord. In November 2011, Bills was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body’s immune system. Bills credits the Cancer Program’s medical staff for not only giving him “amazing and wonderful” care, but also for giving him hope.

“There are all these wonderful people there,” Bills said. “I love them with all my heart. I consider them family.”

After administering chemotherapy and other treatments, Bills’ doctors were eventually able to get his multiple myeloma under control. However, earlier this year, Bills learned he had kidney cancer. While that’s not good news, Bills said he knows he will get superior care and service at CCRMC. “I always think, ‘Thank God for this hospital and the people here.’”

CCRMC’s Cancer Program gets about 350 new patients each year and about 4,000 total patient visits annually to its outpatient infusion clinic, according to Dr. Gynn. Colon cancer and breast cancer are the most common cancers among patients who have been diagnosed, he said.

CCRMC actively participates in clinical trials, giving its primarily low-income patients access to cutting edge treatments. The Cancer Program has been recognized on multiple occasions for its high patient participation rates in clinical trials.

CCRMC’s program earned high marks from the Commission on Cancer this year for, among other things, its navigation or coordination-of-care services  that help patients with appointments, referrals, transportation, accessing community resources and support services in the county.

Dr. Jane McCormick, the medical director for the Cancer Program, said providing proper care to the hospital’s cancer patients goes beyond medical treatments. It must include other elements, such as financial assistance, counseling and, in some cases, end-of-life planning.

“It takes a team to take care of cancer patients as they go through this scary time. We have one of the best teams around to help our patients and their families every step of the way,” Dr. McCormick said.

CCRMC’s Cancer Program was accredited in 1987 and is part of Contra Costa Health Services, the county health department.

Investigators conduct a search warrant on Wente Ct. in Oakley

Danville (Ca)- In an investigation going back to 2001, the San Ramon Police Department, in a joint operation with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, and the F.B.I. Safe Streets Task Force, arrested three suspects in a large scale human trafficking operation. Suspect James Joseph Jr. and his common law wife Avisa Lavassani led a sex trafficking ring for the last 14 years, which had been centered in San Ramon and Danville, CA.

Both Joseph and Lavassani are currently in custody awaiting arraignment on Human Trafficking and Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking charges. Suspect Anthony Reynolds, who assisted Joseph and Lavassani in their trafficking operations, also awaits arraignment in custody.

Acting on information obtained through prior victims of James Joseph Jr. and Avisa Lavassani, the San Ramon Police Department began an investigation into the current activities of the two trafficking ring heads. Utilizing a months-long wire-tap as well as field surveillance, the San Ramon Police Department, Investigators with the F.B.I. Safe Streets Task Force and District Attorney Investigators uncovered a

wide-ranging human trafficking operation that stretched from California to Cleveland, to Miami, and to New York. The operation was netting Joseph Jr. and Lavassani tens of thousands of dollars a week utilizing multiple trafficking victims at one time.

Chief Joe Gorton of the San Ramon Police Department stated: “This investigation has shown us that human trafficking does not stay within jurisdictional lines and it doesn’t just happen in big cities or at ports and truck stops. Human trafficking can occur anywhere and it can be hidden in plain sight.”

Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson declared: “We are committed to investigate and prosecute human traffickers in Contra Costa County. There is no room in our society for treating human beings as slaves and property that can be bought and sold. The San Ramon Police Department and the F.B.I. Safe Streets Task Force did an outstanding job in working this complex and highly involved case.”

The FBI Contra Costa County Safe Streets Task Force consists of police officers and investigators from the F.B.I., Antioch Police Department, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, Richmond Police Department, Contra Costa County Probation Department, California Department of Corrections, Pittsburg Police Department, and the San Ramon Police Department. Along with law enforcement officials, the District Attorney’s Office also utilized several Victim/Witness Advocates, representative who work exclusively with victims and witnesses of violent crime, in their investigation.

Editors Note:
As part of this investigation, a search warrant was issued and conducted in the City of Oakley on Wente Ct.

  • James Joseph, of Danville, is being held on $2.5 million bail.
  • Avisa Lavassani, of Danville, is being held on $4 million bail
  • Anthony Reynolds, of Oakley, is being held on $1 million bail

Ayman Shahid Admits to Participation in Builder Bailout Scheme to Inflate Home Prices During Peak of Mortgage Crisis

SAN FRANCISCO – Ayman Shahid, the former president of Discovery Sales, Inc. (DSI), pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland to conspiracy to commit bank fraud announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge (IRS-CI) Thomas McMahon, and Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) Special Agent in Charge Leslie DeMarco. Shahid is the most recent and highest placed individual charged by the Northern District of California U.S. Attorney’s Office as a result of a wide-ranging investigation by the FBI into mortgage fraud in connection with the sale of homes by DSI and its affiliates.

Shahid, 39, of Danville, Calif., was the president of DSI, which was the sales arm of affiliated residential construction companies, including Discovery Home Builders and Albert D. Seeno Construction Co. According to Shahid’s plea agreement unsealed today, DSI was created to sell new homes built by Discovery Builders, Inc. (“DBI”), Albert D. Seeno Construction Co., Inc. (“AD Seeno”), and other entities affiliated with Albert Seeno III and the Seeno family. The homes were built in developments throughout the East Bay Area, including in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

In connection with his plea agreement, Shahid admitted he conspired with others to fraudulently cause bank underwriters to approve mortgage loans for unqualified buyers during the height of the financial crisis. From 2006 to 2008, when Shahid was DSI’s vice president, buyers with little or no money of their own were induced to purchase homes at prices that were inflated through the use of financial incentives. The buyers were not required to possess or post any of their own money when buying a home; DSI, the builders, and their affiliates provided money to buyers to make down payments. Further, DSI inflated the sale price of the new homes by offering significant cash and other incentives to new home buyers. The primary purpose of the price inflation was to support a large line of credit maintained by the builders; the new homes and the property on which the homes would be built collateralized the line of credit.

Shahid’s plea agreement explained that it was important to the scheme to maintain inflated property values because if the home and property values dropped, the value of the collateral would drop and the line of credit would be put at risk. Specifically, the line of credit could be reduced or terminated, or additional collateral would be required to secure the line of credit. This is what has become known as a “builder bailout” scheme.

Shahid’s plea agreement explains that DSI made loans that were secured by homes that were in some cases worth less than the loan amount and that DSI did not make an effort to determine the true value of these homes. Shahid admitted he and others took steps to ensure information that would reflect poorly on the value of the homes was kept out of bank loan files. Specifically, Shahid ensured the details of the incentives that were being given to specific buyers would not appear in the bank loan files because the loan-to-value ratio would not support the requested loan on the inflated sales price of the home. If the incentives appeared in the bank loan files, Shahid explained, the loan underwriters would likely reject the loans. Accordingly, Shahid instructed DSI employees not to inform appraisers of the incentives being given to buyers.

Over 325 Seeno and Discovery homes sold during the period 2006 – 2008 involved the use of incentives, amounting to sales in excess of $200 million. Shahid agreed that the losses that resulted from foreclosures or short sales on these homes were approximately $75 million; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which purchased mortgage loans used to pay for Seeno and Discovery Homes, lost almost $3.5 million.

Shahid was charged in April 2014 with one count of bank fraud conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349 and 17 individual counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Pursuant to the plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to the lead conspiracy count, a violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1344 and 1349, which encompassed the conduct alleged in the remaining counts.

Shahid and his coconspirators were responsible for saddling the banking system with dozens of fraudulent mortgage loans without regard for the damage those loans would cause to individual home buyers, downstream investors, and, ultimately, the U.S. economy as a whole,” commented U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. “Shahid fraudulently inflated the price of homes purchased by individuals who were unable to pay their mortgages in the long run. By doing this to serve their own narrow economic interests, Shahid, and actors like him, contributed to the housing bubble.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson said, “The actions of Ayman Shahid, certain sales managers and others directly contributed to one of the most significant housing and financial crises of recent memory. While this case was extremely complex, the FBI and Department of Justice built this case, brick by brick, from low-level employees all the way up to the president of the company. We will continue to pursue executives and corporations who fraudulently took advantage of the country’s financial turmoil for their own corporate gain.”

Special Agent in Charge Leslie DeMarco stated, “Shahid participated in a fraudulent scheme involving over $200 million in mortgage loans, many of which ultimately defaulted, to the detriment of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the American taxpayers. We are proud to support our law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting this case.”

Sales managers for Seeno properties who have been previously charged are Carey Hendrickson and Jason Sterlino. Former Bank of America loan officer Jennifer Xiao, Homecomings Financial underwriter Tony Phan, and independent brokers Sharon Wang, Heather Yin, Miguel Arenas, George Zevada, and Chang Park were also charged as participants in the scheme. All of these defendants have pleaded guilty pursuant to cooperation agreements with the government, except Xiao who is a fugitive.

Because Shahid is cooperating with the on-going FBI investigation, a sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. Shahid is next scheduled to appear in court for a status hearing on December 10, 2015, at 3:00 pm before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit bank fraud is 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 or twice the gain or loss, and restitution to be decided by the court. However, any sentence would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The case is being prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions Unit of the United States Attorney’s office in San Francisco. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI, with assistance from IRS-CI and FHFA-OIG.



Here is this weeks construction schedule for Highway 4 which will see Lane Closures between Pittsburg and Antioch between August 24-28.


There are no full freeway closures planned for this week.


State Route 4:

There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between Railroad Avenue and Loveridge Road on Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between Bailey Road and Loveridge Road on Monday through Thursday from 5:00 am to 12:00 pm.

State Route 160:

There are no highway lane closures of State Route 160 planned for this week.


State Route 4:

The HOV lane of the State Route 4 westbound on ramp at Sand Creek Road is closed through August 28, 2015.

State Route 160:

There are no ramp closures of State Route 160 planned for this week.


There are no local street closures planned for this week.

Click here for a full PDF version of the planned lane closures for this week.