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Arraignment // Ashlee Shaner died after hitting a tractor operated by Thomas Nove of Moreno Valley

Title: Arraignment // Ashlee Shaner died after hitting a tractor operated by Thomas Nove of Moreno Valley
Date: Thursday, 10 May 2001
Publisher: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, California)
Author: Erin D. Randolph
Main source: groups.google.com

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Hemet — A man involved in a traffic collision that killed a 16 year old San Jacinto girl pleaded not guilty to a charge of vehicular manslaughter Wednesday.

Thomas Nove, 35, of Moreno Valley was taken into custody on an unrelated matter following the arraignment in Hemet.

He is charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in connection with the death of Ashlee Shaner last year. She was killed the night of May 17 when her car crashed into the bucket of a tractor that was blocking Gilman Springs Road. She was returning to her an Jacinto home from an evening bible study class.

Nove told police he was trying to park the vehicle but had blocked the road with the tractor to allow a paving vehicle to cross the highway, according to court records.

He told investigators that he saw two cars coming toward him but thought they would pull onto the road shoulder. Instead, Ashlee's car crashed into the tractor, killing her. Ashlee's sister Klarissa, then 8, ducked moments before impact and suffered minor injuries.

Ashlee's mother, Michelle Shaner, who was following her daughter home that night, told investigators the tractor was not visible.

Nove told officers he was working late the night Ashlee died to finish some work for the Church of Scientology's Golden Era Productions.

According to an investigation report, Nove, who was employed with Taseco Corp, a Redlands-based contractor, had an expired driver's license since 1992.

During the investigation, California Highway Patrol Officer Eric Nolte said no warning lights, flares or construction workers were on the road to guide motorists around the tractor. There were no street lights in the area.

Erin D. Randolph can be reached by e-mail at erandolph@pe.com or by phone at [removed]