Saturday July 13, 2002

Man pleads innocent in
granddaughter’s death


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — A man charged with leaving his infant granddaughter in a hot vehicle pleaded innocent Friday to charges related to her death. 

Lonnie Sopko, 60, of South San Francisco is charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangerment after allegedly forgetting his 5-month-old granddaughter, Kiana Sopko, in his SUV on June 5. The child was in the vehicle for several hours as temperatures climbed into the 80s. 

Prosecutors say there may be an opportunity for a plea bargain. 

“It all depends at what point the defense and I can reach a meeting of the minds,” said Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaff. “I won’t use the word accident, but I don’t think there was any intentional effort to harm the child.” 

Sopko was released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to return to court Aug. 29. 


Big rig overturns on Bay Bridge 


SAN FRANCISCO — A big rig overturned Friday on the upper deck of the Bay Bridge, leaking diesel fuel onto both levels. 

The accident occurred at 9:39 p.m. west of Treasure Island, said California Highway Patrol Officer Timothy Willock. 

Westbound lanes four and five were closed on the upper deck, while eastbound lanes one and two were shut down on the lower deck until the fuel could be mopped up. 

Traffic began backing up soon after the crash. It was not immediately clear how many vehicles were involved or if anyone was injured.