The 31-year-old driver accused of the June 3 hit-and-run death of a Caltrans worker near Vacaville pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied all enhancements during a brief hearing Tuesday in Solano County Superior Court.
Appearing in Department 24 during the afternoon session in the Hall of Justice, Taje Jakkar Holliman entered the not-guilty pleas for seven counts cited in the Solano County District Attorney’s criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
A San Francisco resident, Holliman, who was represented by Deputy Public Defender Tracy Krause, is charged with hit-and-run resulting in the death of Quanda McGadney, 51, of Fairfield; being a felon in possession of a firearm; possession of ammunition; vehicular manslaughter; possession of heroin, a controlled substance; possession of methamphetamine, also a controlled substance; and being an unlicensed driver.
Court records also show that Holliman was convicted of first-degree murder on July 13, 2011, in juvenile court in Sacramento.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Wood represented the Solano County DA’s Office.
Commissioner Bryan J. Kim assigned the case to Department 9, Judge Carlos R. Gutierrez’s courtroom, and ordered Holliman to return at 8:30 a.m. June 20 for a readiness conference and a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. June 21, both in the Justice Center in Fairfield.
Caltrans officials last week said McGadney, a landscape maintenance worker, had served California residents for more than 18 years, and began her service with Caltrans in 2018. She is survived by her 9-year-old daughter, Nairobi, and two sisters, Priscilla Stevenson and Candice McGadney.
“The loss of one of our own public servants in this tragic incident is being felt heavily within the Caltrans family today. Our thoughts and heartfelt support are focused on her family, friends and colleagues at this time,” said Caltrans Acting Director Steven Keck in a press statement.
McGadney is the first Caltrans District 4 (Bay Area) employee to die on the job since 2017. She is the 37th in the history of District 4 and the 190th Caltrans worker to lose their life on the job since 1921.
“This tragedy is particularly painful, coming so close to our workers memorial service just a little over a month ago, and drives home how dangerous our work on California’s roadways can be,” Keck said. “Our focus (is) on safety and the ‘Move Over’ law, and (we are) asking the public to increase their awareness of the people working on the highways on their behalf are part of our continued effort to eliminate these tragic incidents.”
A memorial fund is being established through the California Transportation Foundation.
Just after 10 a.m., the California Highway Patrol responded to a report of a hit-and-run crash on westbound Interstate 80 west of Lagoon Valley Road.
Officers found McGadney on the freeway shoulder. She died at the scene.
Investigators soon determined that the driver of a white Mazda 3 had struck the pedestrian before fleeing the scene. The suspect was soon arrested in Fairfield by a CHP officer with the assistance of a Fairfield police officer, CHP officials said.
Holliman was booked afterward into Solano County Jail, where he remains, with bail set at $120,000.
The crash remains under investigation by the CHP Solano Area office and Golden Gate Division’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team.
Anyone with information is asked to call the CHP’s Investigation Tip Line at 917-4491.