A woman critically injured in a crash that claimed the life of her granddaughter is slowly getting better, a family member said. Also Tuesday, the man accused of causing the crash was arraigned in San Joaquin Superior Court.
Joffrey Scaerou, 26, of France faces a charge of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. He remains incarcerated in the San Joaquin County Jail with bail set at $500,001, records show. It was not clear whether Scaerou had entered a plea; the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office did not return a call for comment.
The California Highway Patrol said Scaerou was driving a 2014 Dodge Caravan east on Highway 120 near Main Street in Manteca when he failed to brake for slow traffic until it was too late. The Caravan hit a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Angela Thomas, 45, of Modesto. The Mercury, in turn, struck a 1999 Lexus sport utility vehicle.
The Grand Marquis caught fire; Thomas’ 16-year-old granddaughter, Lau’ray Thomas, died as a result of her injuries. Angela Thomas was taken by helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento with major injuries. On Tuesday, LaTanya Chatmon, Lau’ray Thomas’ mother, said Angela Thomas is showing signs of improvement. Doctors were able to reduce the amount of oxygen they were giving her.
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“She’s not well, but she’s done a little bit better,” Chatmon said.
Also Tuesday, Chatmon said, family members set up a fund to help the family pay for burial expenses for Lau’ray Thomas, who was a junior at Johansen High School. The fund is in the names of Chatmon and Lau’ray Thomas at Farmers & Merchants Bank. Donations may be made at any branch.