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Hoover held to answer for charges

Mozes Zarate

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Riley Dean Hoover Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.


A judge ruled that the man charged for a hit-and-run collision that resulted in the death of a 21-year-old Chico State student on Sept. 22 will be held to answer for all charges.

Judge James Reilley made the ruling during a preliminary hearing Friday at the Butte County Superior Courthouse in Oroville.

Defendant Riley Dean Hoover, 20, faces the following charges:

  • Driving under the influence and causing severe bodily injury for the death of Kristina Chesterman.
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content level above .08 and inflicting injuries upon Chesterman that caused a coma.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Selling or transporting marijuana.
  • Manufacturing a controlled substance.

In an additional case filed in January, two felony counts of money laundering were brought against Hoover.

Approximately two seconds before Chesterman was hit, surveillance footage from Chico Petroleum on West First Street revealed a dark colored sport utility vehicle driving down the roadway toward the crime scene, said Todd Lefkowitz, a Chico Police officer, at the hearing. The car in the footage was driving approximately 48 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Hoover’s vehicle, a black GMC Envoy, was discovered and confiscated after a second collision occurred in the parking lot of his apartment at 730 Nord Ave., four blocks away, that same night.

Two men testified to witnessing the first collision and described a light colored vehicle that may have been involved in the crash.

“I heard a ‘bam’ and I heard a scrape that sounded like something was being drug under the vehicle,” said James Roberts, a witness who heard the accident while walking nearby.

Terry Smoot, the other witness, said he saw large amounts of sparks being generated as the bike was being dragged.

Both stayed with Chesterman after she was hit and until law enforcement arrived.

The area of impact was determined to on be the Nord Avenue bridge based on a gouge in the road made by a bike wheel, Lefkowitz said.

Chesterman’s body came to rest 125 feet north of the place of impact, he said.

Chico Police Sgt Matt Nowicki was dispatched to the second collision at 730 Nord Avenue. A witness walked Nowicki up to Hoover’s unlocked apartment and opened the door. Nowicki found Hoover asleep on a chair. He entered the apartment and smelt alcohol after he approached Hoover.

Hoover was tested for blood alcohol content and scored a 0.33.

A search of Hoover’s vehicle found 2.95 pounds of hashish, contained in vacuum sealed bags and held in a postal service box.

Tread marks on the GMC’s air deflector matched the tire of Chesterman’s bike, said Don Dunbar, a senior criminalist at the California Department of Justice in Chico, in his testimony.

A plastic piece discovered on the roadway where Chesterman was hit appeared to fit the damaged right front area of Hoover’s vehicle, said Curtis Powell, a California Highway Patrol officer, in his testimony.

Lefkowitz noted a significant dent on the hood and a bent antenna on the right front of the vehicle.

In regards to the money laundering charges, Douglass Patterson, a detective in the marijuana unit at the Butte County Sheriff’s Department, testified that between May and June, $10,600 in five cash deposits were made to a bank account under Hoover’s name.

Patterson also testified that two people witnessed Hoover manufacturing butane honey oil, or “earwax”, in a residence he previously lived at in Berry Creek.

Hoover’s defense attorney, Clyde Blackmon, sought to have some of the evidence suppressed. He alleged that officers unlawfully entered Hoover’s home, searched his vehicle and drew blood and breath samples from him without his consent.

Butte County Superior Court Judge James Reilley ruled each piece of evidence as admissible.

Hoover’s next court date is on March 19.

He remains in custody with a combined bail of $530,000 for both cases.

Mozes Zarate can be reached at [email protected] or @mzarate139 on Twitter.

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Hoover held to answer for charges