SAN JOSE – 22-year-old Solomon David Friese was arrested on Sunday, October 26 in the death of Chi Lam, and charged under VC 23140, 23152 and 23153, for causing an accident while under the influence of alcohol, and in violation of PC 191.5, gross vehicular manslaughter.
Friese appeared in the Superior Court of San Jose’s Hall of Justice on Monday Nov 10 at 1:30 PM with friends and family, after moving back to Riverside to be with them after the incident. Bail was set at $125,000, however instead of his bail being revoked Friese was able to be released on his “own recognizance”. The next court appearance has been scheduled for December 1 at 1:30 in Dept 38.
Officers had located the Asian male victim on 10th Street near San Jose State University. A witness at the scene of the crash had watched as Lam was thrown through the air after running into the path of the speeding vehicle. After flying through the air, he landed on the pavement several feet away from the car. Friese had been traveling at a rate of 45 mph on 10th Street when he hit Lam head on. Realizing what had happened he slowed to 15 mph, but then began to speed up again. Friese told authorities he did not know that he was required to stop at the scene of the accident.
After leaving the scene Friese turned onto East San Salvador and then to 8th Street. Friese tried to turn, taking the corner too quickly, slamming into several parked cars along the street. Fueled by alcohol, Friese jumped out of the disabled vehicle and ran from the scene.
The victim Lam had been walking with a female friend when Friese was seen driving really fast towards them. “The witness saw Lam run to avoid the car, but she stayed in place”. Then suddenly Friese, upon seeing the couple, started to change lanes, but instead of missing them, Lam had run straight into the path of the speeding car.
According to authorities and the investigative reports by officers, “Lam sustained multiple fractures to his skull and had severe internal bleeding of the brain”. He was placed on life support in order to preserve his organs for possible donation after being placed in the critical care unit at the hospital. Doctors believed that Lam would not survive his injuries for more than a few days.
The San Jose State University Police were called to assist in looking for the suspect at 455 South 8th Street, just down the block from the crash, and to secure the location where the suspect had last been seen. While checking the apartment Friese opened the door and was identified as the suspect. While he spoke to police a strong odor of alcohol was noticeable. Friese admitted to having 5-6 drinks at a Halloween costume party.
While at home, he had decided to go to bed, but his roommate told him that he needed to talk to police about the incident. The roommate did not find out about the accident from Friese, it had been a neighbor who had heard the loud crash and was able to identify the suspect’s vehicle. The vehicle was described as a black BMW with a partial plate number given to officers. The neighbor stated he “did not get involved because Friese had been getting in a lot of trouble lately and did not want to have anything to do it”. Friese was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony hit and run under CVC 20001 (a) and for driving while in the influence of CVC 23152 (b).
The witness played an important part in identifying Friese’s vehicle as the one seen hitting and killing Chi Lam at the scene.
This was the 37th fatal pedestrian death in San Jose at this time. Another hit and run accident was reported on Nov 11 during the afternoon, near Barberry Lane and South King Road. A woman was hit and killed. The driver responsible for the accident was later found and arrested.