Shawntre Tillis is an inmate in Butte County Jail.
Tillis, 23, faces felony gun charges in connection to a party in Chico in May. Police said officers were called to that party on West 8th Street on a noise complaint, when they noticed Tillis was carrying a gun in his waistband. He was charged with 'Possession of a Concealed Firearm in public,' 'Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person,' and having outstanding warrants. Bail was set at $25,000.
This was not the first time Tillis was accused in a crime. The Antioch man was arrested in March 2017, accused of driving drunk, and causing a chain reaction crash that killed an Oregon man and his son. According to the California Highway Patrol, Isidro Garcia and his family were returning home from a trip to Disneyland when, as they drove north on I-5 through Glenn County, Tillis, who was headed south, hit the back of another car, causing that car to cross the median and strike the Garcia family’s van. Isidro Garcia, 26, and his son Fabian, 2, died at the scene.
Now, thirteen months later, many people are asking why Tillis has not been charged in the deadly crash.
Glenn County District Attorney Dwayne Stewart says his small office is busy. He says there are three lawyers on staff, including himself. He handles all the homicides. And on his desk? Twenty-eight homicide cases-a heavy workload for an office that usually has one every few years. “We're dealing with more than we're used to. For some reason, it's just exploded here in Glenn County,” Stewart explains.
Stewart is dealing with another high-profile case. In January 2017, popular Pleasant Valley High School teacher and coach Brett Silva was killed in an alleged DUI crash on Highway 32. The CHP report shows Ramon Barrera, 26, was arrested, accused of driving with a mix of drugs in his system. Without going into too much detail so as not to jeopardize the case, Stewart says he’s working with experts to determine “where are the holes, and where can we get to with what evidence we have.”
Stewart says he has been in touch with the Garcia and Silva families to reassure them he’s working on their loved ones’ cases. Says Stewart, “The easy answer is ‘driving under the influence.’ That's easy. But that's three years. It's a way too small amount of time to send somebody away for the loss of life here.”