MODESTO -- A judge on Wednesday scheduled a preliminary hearing on Aug. 10 for Riverbank City Councilman Jesse James White, who is accused of drunken driving and causing injury to his 4-year-old son, as well as hit-and-run and resisting a police officer in connection with a crash three months ago in Oakdale.
White, 23, did not appear in court for the brief pretrial hearing Wednesday morning; his defense attorney Mary Lynn Belsher appeared on his behalf. A judge has granted a request from Belsher, allowing White only to appear in court for his criminal case when necessary.
The city councilman will have to appear for his preliminary hearing, which is expected to last about half a day. Once Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves hears testimony and arguments from attorneys, she will determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.
White has been charged with driving under the influence, causing an injury and making an unsafe turn; hit-and-run driving with an injury; and permitting a child to suffer under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death. Those charges are felonies.
The embattled councilman, who was elected in November 2008 at age 19, also has been charged with the misdemeanors of hit-and-run driving causing property damage and resisting a police officer by means of threats and violence. Bystanders and police have said White told them he was Jesse James White and they would regret their actions.
Oakdale police said White wrecked his Corvette about 1 a.m. Feb. 20. He crashed into a parked car on F Street in Oakdale and then tried to leave before being tackled and held by bystanders until officers arrived, according to witnesses.
Prosecutors allege that White's blood-alcohol content level was 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit at which a driver is considered to be under the influence.
His 4-year-old son was in the Corvette and suffered a bloody nose. White left his son in the car when he tried to leave, police said.
White remains free from custody after posting $25,000 bail.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2394.