Arraignment Postponed in Fatal Freeway Crash; Driver Released on Bail

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CITY NEWS SERVICE

POMONA — The initial court appearance was postponed Monday for a man who allegedly drove into a construction zone on the San Bernardino (10) Freeway in Baldwin Park and ran down a worker — one of the sons of actor and motorcycle racing champion Bruce Penhall.

Arraignment for Tatsuhiko Sakamoto, 37, of Arcadia on charges that include gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is now scheduled for April 26.

Sakamoto was released from jail late Sunday after posting $300,000 bail.

Connor Penhall

He is accused of driving a Toyota Rav4 through signs and traffic cones on the westbound freeway at Francisquito Avenue around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, hitting 21-year-old Connor Penhall of Corona. Penhall, who was operating a concrete saw for a Caltrans subcontractor, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sakamoto had a Hawaii driver’s license with a Honolulu address, according to CHP Officer Edmund Zorrilla.

Penhall’s father portrayed Officer Bruce Nelson in the final season of the “CHiPs” television series. He was also a champion motorcycle racer, a sport Connor also competed in. The actor went to the scene of the crash to identify his son.

Sakamoto is also facing charges of DUI causing injury and driving with a .08 percent blood-alcohol content, along with the allegation of causing great bodily injury. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

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