Crime

Jury convicts wife of Sonora physician who got prison for triple fatal collision

This was the scene on La Grange Road north of Bonds Flat Road after a crash that left three people dead on Oct. 21, 2016.
This was the scene on La Grange Road north of Bonds Flat Road after a crash that left three people dead on Oct. 21, 2016. California Highway Patrol

A jury has convicted a Sonora woman for her role in a 2016 crash that killed three people near La Grange.

Diane Anderson, 68, was found guilty of helping her husband, local physician Danny Mundall Anderson, conceal evidence in the case, among other charges.

Danny Anderson was convicted last year of vehicular manslaughter and other charges, after another jury found that his unsafe passing maneuver led to the accident.

It killed Trista Hoffman, then 16, of La Grange; her mother, Tina Hoffman, 51; and Rheinholt Eisemann, 72, of Copperopolis.

Diane Anderson faces up to four years in state prison at her Oct. 7 sentencing. The case was moved to San Joaquin Superior Court out of concern about media attention in Tuolumne County.

The accident happened Oct. 21, 2016, on La Grange Road near Don Pedro Reservoir. The California Highway Patrol reported that Danny Anderson was driving north in an Acura when he tried to pass a Toyota across a solid double-yellow line. A southbound Lexus swerved to avoid the Acura and overturned, and the Toyota collided with the Lexus, the CHP said.

The Hoffmans were in the Lexus and died at the scene. Eisemann was in the Toyota and died later at a hospital. Three other people had serious injuries.

Danny Anderson was sentenced to five years, four months in state prison following his July 2018 verdict in Tuolumne Superior Court. He was convicted of three counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, hit and run causing death or great bodily injury, reckless driving causing injury, and delaying and obstructing an investigation.

Diane Anderson was convicted of four charges, District Attorney Laura Krieg said by email:

  • Felony accessory after the fact to vehicular manslaughter
  • Felony failure to perform a duty following an accident causing death or great bodily injury by a passenger or registered owner of a vehicle
  • Misdemeanor concealing evidence
  • Misdemeanor obstructing or delaying a peace officer

The defendant remains in jail before sentencing by order of Judge Kevin Siebert of the Tuolumne Superior Court, who is handling the case in Stockton.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.
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