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Murder charge filed in fatal getaway drive

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Eric Banford is accused of smoking crack while fleeing police in East Palo Alto, which lead to the death of a motorcycle rider. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images File Photo
  • Eric Banford is accused of smoking crack while fleeing police in East Palo Alto, which lead to the death of a motorcycle rider.

A driver accused of smoking crack while fleeing police in East Palo Alto before crashing into and killing a 50-year-old motorcyclist has been held to answer charges he faces, prosecutors said.

Eric Banford, 47, appeared in court Tuesday to face multiple felony charges, including murder, in the Sept. 28 crash that killed 50-year-old Danny Dixon.

The incident was the second time in which Banford’s recklessness resulted in death, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. In 1991, Wagstaffe said, Banford was convicted of voluntary manslaughter after fatally punching a man during a drug robbery in East Palo Alto.

“You would think somebody with a brain would change their ways after something like that,” Wagstaffe said.
Apparently not.

According to police and prosecutors, officers investigating a burglary Sept. 28 attempted to question Banford as he walked down a street. Rather than stopping, police said, Banford jumped into a friend’s Land Rover and took off.

Banford allegedly ran stops signs and red lights at speeds of up to 70 mph. Banford’s two passengers yelled at him to stop, Wagstaffe said, but he refused. Instead, he “lit up a crack pipe,” Wagstaffe said.