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Coach asks rock throwers to take responsibility, show remorse

Incident could impact school sports program
By: Gloria Beverage
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The Sacramento resident critically injured by a rock thrown from the Canyon Way overpass on Interstate 80 has been released from the hospital. As police continue to investigate the incident, Colfax High School’s football coach is asking those responsible to step forward. Coach Tony Martello said this week that the incident could affect the sports program. Jose Palomera, 48, returned to his Sacramento home on Friday. The church pastor was seriously injured around 2:30 a.m. on July 26 when a large rock thrown from the overpass struck his vehicle’s windshield. The small boulder smashed into Palomera’s face crushing his jaw and fracturing several bones in his cheek, reported his 17-year-old daughter, Sarai. He was transported to Sutter Roseville Trauma Center where he underwent surgery to put a metal plate in his jaw, which has been temporarily wired shut. Sarai Palomera said her father “is doing OK. He’s feeling good, hopeful.” She said get well cards can be mailed to him at 4455 49th Street, Sacramento, CA 95820. Palomera has been pastor of First Free Church in Sacramento for 22 years. He is also employed with the railroad contractor Renzenberger and was driving railroad employees from one job to another when the incident happened. California Highway Patrol officers are continuing their search for the group of four or five individuals, who threw the rocks into the path of westbound and eastbound vehicles. Amid speculation the suspects may be high school students, Colfax High School teacher and football coach Tony Martello expressed his sadness about the incident. “I think I can speak on behalf of the Colfax High School football program, high school and community overall,” he said. “We are certainly saddened by this incident. First and foremost, know our hearts go out to the victim of the crime and his family. “What was acted out was irresponsible and damaging,” he continued. “Some very serious bad decisions were made. Those decisions will affect a lot of people, the community and possibly the school’s sports program as well as the perpetrators involved.” He asked that those involved in this crime be willing to show remorse and accept responsibility for their actions. “It is also important that we as educators and parents and people in this tight-knit community learn from this situation and that we grow as well,” Martello said. CHP Gold Run Commander Lt. John Arrabit said the agency has received several leads from residents. “California Highway Patrol investigators, with the assistance of the Placer County District Attorney’s Office, have interviewed multiple suspects and witnesses,” Arrabit said. He acknowledges the support of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office in collecting and processing evidence. “Within the next few weeks the CHP anticipates completing the investigation and forwarding it to the District Attorney,” he continued. The suspects are facing felony charges, including assault with a deadly weapon. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the CHP Gold Run Area office at (530) 389-2205. Anonymous tips can be made by calling CrimeStoppers at (800) 923-8191. A $500 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this crime.