Judge rules driver in fatal crash must stay in juvenile detention

A judge has ruled that a 17-year-old boy accused of crashing a car carrying four of his Torrey Pines High School classmates as they left a party, killing one of the boys, will be held at Juvenile Hall until at least Oct. 19.

Judge George “Woody” Clarke made the ruling Wednesday morning. The teenager is charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and DUI with injury.

The ruling follows an announcement Tuesday by a district attorney’s spokesman that the boy will not be charged as an adult.

It is the newspaper’s policy not to indentify juveniles accused of crimes.

An initial California Highway Patrol report said a combination of alcohol and speed contributed to the pre-dawn accident.

Alexander Michael Capozza, 17, died at 1:43 a.m. Sunday in the 5000 block of La Granada in Rancho Santa Fe just past the intersection of Rambla de las Flores near the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Course. The speeding 2008 Mazda 3 he was in with four friends crashed and rolled several times, ending up in some bushes, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Another passenger, 17-year-old Jamie Arnold, was hospitalized with head injuries but was reported on Tuesday to be in fair condition at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Neither he nor Capozza was wearing a seatbelt, the CHP reported.

CHP Sgt. Lewis Hall said his agency and the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control are trying to determine where the students had been drinking, how they acquired the alcohol and whether adults were involved. He also said illegal drugs may have been a factor.

On Monday afternoon, five teenagers stood silently on the side of the road on La Granada in Rancho Santa Fe in front of a swelling memorial for their lost Torrey Pines classmate.

Among a Mazda emblem, side mirror and bits of plastic were bunches of flowers and handwritten notes. The top of a surfboard was stuck into the ground, draped with colorful rosary beads and a San Diego Padres hat.

“Hope you’re shredding up there, you will be missed but we will all see you again,” read a note written on the surfboard.

At Torrey Pines on Monday and Tuesday, staff did what they could to support their students, Principal Brett Killeen said.

Counselors and staff visited many classrooms and areas were designated for student support. Around 80 students visited the small group setting on Monday and around 40 on Tuesday.

“We are really proud of our kids for taking care of one another ad our teachers for being understanding,” Killeen said.

To remember Alex’s tragedy, students will be selling a memorial bracelet at Torrey Pines and at Canyon Crest Academy.

Students Trevor Gould, Rafaella Aguiar and Kelly Connor set up a Facebook page for the bracelets and they have ordered 550, black bands that read “R.I.P. Alex Capozza.”

“I feel this bracelet will be a great for when you’re at a party, you can look down and remember what has happened and know that you can change something like from happening again by instead calling a cab or your parents or a sober driver or just crashing where you are,” reads the Facebook page.

“It’s not fair that it happened to them, because no one deserves it but we can stop it from happening again.”

Students are also launching a campaign to nominate Alex for homecoming king this year.

  • City News Service contributed to this report.