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Rocklin man who allegedly killed three in Salmon Falls Road crash set for trial

Principal said school community thinks about deceased student on “regular basis”
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A man whose last known address was in Rocklin is expected to begin a trial in October for the alleged killing of his three passengers in an accident in November 2009 on Salmon Falls Road near Pilot Hill. Mark Steven Barrera, who was 20 when the accident occurred, was arraigned on a grand jury indictment on May 2, according to Joe Alexander, the El Dorado County prosecutor on the case. “He was indicted for three counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence,” Alexander said. Alexander said Barrera entered a not guilty plea. According to Alexander, Barrera is set for a jury trial on Oct. 11, and the trial is estimated to last about two weeks. The accident connected to the case occurred in late November 2009. Barrera, who was driving the car, allegedly lost control on a sharp curve of the winding country road, slamming into an oak tree. Passengers Nan Hee Pak, a 16-year-old junior at Rocklin High School, and Citrus Heights resident Alex Weast, 20, were pronounced dead at the scene. The third passenger, Ellijah, “E.J.” Shaw, 18, a senior at Folsom High School, was flown to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Barrera was treated at the hospital and released. In July 2010 Officer Dan Stark, with the California Highway Patrol Placerville Office, said street racing was a factor in the crash. Officers also said they believed speed was a factor at the time of the accident. “Drifting is considered a form of street racing,” Stark said. “Although there didn’t appear to be a second car involved in the accident, drifting was certainly a factor.” In August 2010 the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office issued a declaration in support of warrant of arrest because of the belief that Barrera allegedly committed three counts of vehicular manslaughter. A warrant was issued for Barrera’s arrest. His bail was set at $100,000, according to court records. The grand jury filed its indictment April 22, 2011, charging Barrera with three felony counts of unlawfully and without malice killing a human being, “while driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence; or while driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might have produced death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence,” according to court documents. Attempts to reach Barrera and his attorney, James Clark, of Placerville, for comment were unsuccessful Thursday. According to court records, Barrera is out of custody on bail. Kathryn Allaman, principal of Folsom High School, said she had not heard about the developments in the case, and hadn’t heard anyone on campus expressing concerns about the case. Shaw’s memory is still a part of the school, Allaman said. “I stay in regular contact with E.J.’s mother, and I have not talked to her yet this school year, but E.J. is forever in our hearts,” she said. “And we have a memorial scholarship, his family has established a memorial scholarship, in his name. We think about him on a regular basis.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com