Man Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder in Collision Death of Yuba County Woman
Above: Dawn Loralee Ritter
Originally published 3-16-22 via Facebook
by the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office:
“A Yuba County Jury found Dominik Oshay Cash guilty Tuesday of the 2nd degree murder of Dawn Loralee Ritter, along with other charges that included reckless evasion, fleeing the scene of a collision, felon in possession of a firearm, resisting arrest, vandalism, and driving on a suspended license.
The incident began shortly after 11 pm on January 16, 2021, when CHP-Oroville Officer Paul Vue attempted to stop Cash on SR-70 south of Oroville for speeding. Unknown to Officer Vue at the time, Cash, a convicted felon, had a loaded 9mm handgun on the seat next to him, and multiple warrants for his arrest for reckless high-speed chases he had done in San Francisco, Solano, and Placer Counties.
Cash fled from Officer Vue in a 2004 Toyota Solara, reaching speeds in excess of 135 mph and covering 19.1 miles in only 9 minutes and 13 seconds. Cash drove recklessly, crossing over the double-yellow center line on multiple occasions and nearly colliding head-on with northbound traffic. Several officers from CHP-Yuba-Sutter responded to the area in an effort to intercept Cash before he entered the city of Marysville. CHP Officers Fuentes and Klippel observed Cash driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph and took up the pursuit as he passed by them near Silva Avenue.
As Cash passed by CHP Officers Quigley and Eckerfield at 106 mph, they too activated their Code-3 lights and sirens and joined the pursuit. Based on the extreme danger Cash posed to the community, CHP Sergeants Romero and Howard authorized the deployment of a spike strip to stop Cash’s vehicle. CHP Officers Rishel and Uhrich were able to successfully spike the vehicle just south of Laurellen, but Cash continued driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph as he entered the city of Marysville. Seconds after Sergeant Howard joined the pursuit on B Street, Cash ran a red light and crashed into a Toyota Tacoma driven by Dawn Loralee Ritter as she was completing a left turn from 9th Street. The force of the impact crushed the cab of Ms. Ritter’s truck, killing her instantly.
The crash didn’t stop Cash. Immediately following the collision, Cash fled on foot. Law enforcement officers from the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office, Marysville Police Department, and CHP set a perimeter and searched for Cash. Cash ran, but he couldn’t hide. Officers from CHP Valley Air Division aboard helicopter H-24, spotted Cash jumping over fences and running through yards of nearby residences. The officers aboard H-24 directed the officers on the ground to Cash’s hiding spot on top of an apartment building. Cash also physically resisted arrest, but was ultimately taken into custody and booked into the Yuba County Jail.
The jury heard from 24 witnesses during the trial, including the people who escaped death by mere seconds as they drove in front of and behind Ms. Ritter at the time of the collision. Jason Williams testified he was driving a car directly in front of Ms. Ritter. Immediately after making the turn onto B Street, Williams felt the shockwave of Cash’s car flying by him, describing it like being passed by a semi-truck on the freeway. Williams saw the explosion of debris behind him with glass shards in the air like glitter. Williams stopped and raced back to the scene, afraid his friend traveling behind Ms. Ritter had been hit. Williams described for the jury, breaking down in tears at seeing his friend standing in the intersection.
Experts from CHP Valley Division MAIT testified about reconstructing the collision based on the physical evidence and surveillance videos that captured the last moments of the pursuit and the fatal collision. CHP Officer Hamilton, using surveillance videos along B Street, determined that Cash was traveling approximately 100 mph as he passed Ellis Lake, slowing slightly to approximately 85 mph just before the collision. Officer Hamilton testified there was no evidence that Cash ever braked, he was likely only slowing because the spike strip had deflated the front right tire.
The jury also heard about Cash’s prior convictions for running from the police. Pittsburg Police Officer Thomas Bryan testified about a pursuit that occurred in Contra Costa County on December 19, 2017, when he attempted to stop Cash, who was driving a stolen vehicle. During that pursuit, Cash drove at high speeds, cut across four lanes of traffic on a busy highway, and almost collided with an embankment before spinning his vehicle 180 degrees. Officer Bryan said he came to a stop nose-to-nose with Cash’s vehicle. Cash then drove the wrong direction up the highway, nearly colliding with oncoming traffic before exiting and escaping into the city. Officer Bryan did not pursue Cash further due to public safety concerns. Cash was later apprehended and convicted in Contra Costa County. The jury also heard evidence of a subsequent conviction for reckless evasion that occurred in Contra Costa County in May of 2018.
Cash is being held without bail pending sentencing. He faces a potential 21 years to Life.”