A teenager from Oakley has seen his charges upgraded to include murder after a Livermore woman seriously injured in a car crash allegedly caused by the young man in February recently died at the hospital from her injuries, the Weekly has learned.
Sekou Abayomia Brandon, 19, also now faces felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, evading police causing death and evading police causing serious injury, along with 11 special allegations, after authorities allege he crashed into another vehicle on North Livermore Avenue while fleeing from police at high speeds.
One of the two occupants of the other vehicle police say Brandon hit in the Feb. 17 crash -- identified as Linda Woodward, 73, of Livermore -- died April 16 at Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center as a result of her injuries, according to the Contra Costa County Coroner's Division.
The charges against Brandon, a former Dublin High School student, were updated two days later to reflect murder after Woodward's death, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. He was set to appear in court in Dublin on Friday for entry-of-plea, but the hearing was continued to May 27.
Brandon's defense attorney, Anne Beles, had not responded to a request for comment as of Sunday afternoon.
The situation began unfolding around 3 p.m. on Feb. 17 when Brandon was spotted behind the wheel of a red Lexus sedan speeding on eastbound Interstate 580 just east of Isabel Avenue in Livermore, according to a probable cause declaration written by Livermore Police Officer Scott Harrison. Though the crash was ultimately under the purview of the California Highway Patrol, Harrison wrote the initial arrest report.
Harrison said he was driving in his marked police SUV when he attempted to pull over a red Lexus for driving approximately 90 mph on the freeway. The officer alleged the driver -- later identified as Brandon -- looked over his shoulder and in the rear-view mirror at the officer as he accelerated across multiple lanes in heavy traffic trying to elude the enforcement stop.
"Brandon recklessly and without regard for his safety or the safety of other motorists, steered to the right and across all 6 lanes of heavy eastbound traffic," Harrison stated in the written declaration. "I was not able to follow due to his reckless driving actions. I watched as Brandon drove over the dirt embankment and down the N Livermore Ave exit and lost sight of his vehicle."
The officer said he was then dispatched eight minutes later to an injury crash on North Livermore Avenue at the bottom of the freeway exit ramp involving the same red Lexus and a black SUV.
Harrison said he arrived at the scene and positively identified Brandon as the same driver who sped away from him recklessly minutes earlier. Brandon was placed under arrest at that time on suspicion of felony reckless driving while evading law enforcement.
Harrison wrote in his report that both occupants of the black SUV sustained moderate injuries and were taken to an area hospital for treatment. However, Woodward's injuries would prove more serious and ultimately she died while hospitalized in Walnut Creek on April 16.
Prosecutors first upgraded the charges against Brandon on April 18 in light of Woodward's death, and the criminal complaint was amended for a second time with the current charges on April 27.
In connection with Woodward's death, Brandon has been charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and evading police causing death, along with special allegations including violent conduct and great bodily harm as to each count.
For the other occupant's injuries, Brandon is charged with felony evading police causing serious bodily injury along with special allegations of great bodily harm and violent conduct.
Editor's note: The Weekly has corroborated that Sekou Brandon was arrested as a 17-year-old in connection with a 2020 homicide in the Tri-Valley, but we have been unable to confirm the status of his charges in that juvenile case. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the case because arrestees were minors at the time. We are withholding additional reporting on Brandon's alleged involvement in that case pending further confirmation of facts.