Suspect’s girlfriend charged as accessory to hit-run attack on firefighter

The girlfriend of the suspect accused of running down and critically injuring a state firefighter two weeks ago denied in court Wednesday that she helped him try to beat the rap.

Prosecutors say that after an early morning fight between Albert Bartal and 22-year-old Eduardo Shaparo Esquivel at a Richmond district Jack in the Box, Esquivel plowed a rented SUV into Bartal at a nearby gas station and took off. Police tracked down the South San Francisco resident five days later and arrested him.

Bartal, a 29-year-old Cal Fire firefighter and father of a 4-year-old child, remains at the hospital in critical condition, prosecutor Omid Talai said.

Esquivel’s 22-year-old girlfriend, Alyssa Tejada, who was arrested Monday, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony count of being an accessory after the fact to attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and torture.

Tejada told her crying family in court, “It’s okay,” before being led back to her jail cell.

The Vallejo woman is accused of delaying the investigation, including ordering parts to fix the damaged SUV, according to her attorney, Jai Gohel. Gohel said Tejada had a change of heart and decided to turn over the vehicle to police.

“In the end, evidence was not tampered with, she turned it over, so that it would not impede the investigation,” Gohel said.

Talai disputes that account, saying it was actually police who contacted Tejada first.

“But for the work of the SFPD criminal investigation unit, we wouldn’t have the evidence we are using to charge Ms. Tejada,” Talai said.

The SUV was recovered in the Bayview district last Thursday.

A judge Wednesday ordered Tejada held on $200,000 bail, but Gohel will argue for a bail reduction next week. Her charge carries a maximum three-year sentence, Gohel said.

Gohel would not comment on whether Tejada was with Esquivel the night of the incident. He said his client, a clerical hospital worker, has no prior criminal history.

“She’s a good kid, has a job, never been in trouble before, and didn’t know what to do,” Gohel said.

Esquivel — who has already pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and torture — is being held on $5 million bail.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsfirefighterLaw and DisorderSan Francisco

Just Posted

Cyclists and runners move along JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park near the de Young Museum and the Music Concourse on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

City proposes a host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park

A man walks past the main entrance to the Hotel Whitcomb at Eighth and Market streets on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

The remnants of trees burned by the Dixie Fire near Antelope Lake, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. (Christian Monterrosa/The New York Times)
California’s wildfires invisible effect: high carbon dioxide emissions

This summer California fires emitted twice as much CO2 as last year

Latinos are dying at a lower rate than white and Black people in California. However, Latinos have had the sharpest increase in the death rate in the last month, rising from 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people in August to 4 per 100,000 in September. (iStock)
Who’s dying in California from COVID-19?

In recent months, those who are dying are younger

Most Read