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Pretrial set for crash suspect

A pretrial hearing for a 67-year-old manslaughter suspect, Cary Dwayne Chaffin, has been set for 8:30 a.m. June 20 in Madera County Superior Court, Department 29.

Until then, Chaffin will be free under pretrial supervision, and must wear an electronic ankle bracelet at all times. He also is not to use, sell or buy marijuana, according to an order by visiting Judge Elliott Lee Daum, who was filling in for Madera County Superior Court Judge Mitchell C. Rigby at a bail hearing last week.

Chaffin was arrested the morning of May 24, suspected of manslaughter and gross negligence, after his pickup collided with a motorcycle ridden by Dustin Roe Calley, 25, of Chowchilla, who was on his way to work at Valley Fixtures on Pine Street in Madera.

Calley also had been a tow-truck driver and was a volunteer fire fighter in Chowchilla. He also had been in the Army National Guard.

Investigators said Chaffin turned on Pine Street in front of Calley, who attempted to avoid hitting Chaffin but crashed into Chaffin’s truck.

Calley was rushed to Madera Community Hospital, but was pronounced dead.

Chaffin admitted to being on marijuana at the time, which was confirmed by a field sobriety test. Investigators also suspected Chaffin may have been under the influence of other mind-altering substances, although results of tests for those had not been provided at the time of the bail hearing.

Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Levy told the judge he thought Chaffin should remain in custody, since the suspect had admitted to using marijuana since he was 21. But the judge said a pretrial assessment showed Chaffin as being of low risk for violating the terms of his release.

Calley’s aunt, Stacy Wisener, who manages the Chowchilla Chamber of Commerce, said Calley was well known in Chowchilla, and well liked, and his death resulted in an outpouring of grief among those who counted him as a friend.

“The funeral procession included fire trucks and tow trucks,” she said.

The family seeks to publicize the case to put pressure on the DA’s office, so this case may be taken seriously.

“The community is putting together a campaign called Justice for Dustin,” she said, “in which they will be asked to flood the District Attorney’s Office with letters asking that the fullest punishment be given to Chaffin.”

The family has also been in touch with C.A.L.M. (Californians Against Legalizing Marijuana), an organization that will hopefully bring attention to the case.

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