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Arcadia Man Charged In Death Of ‘CHiPs’ Actor’s Son

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Connor M. Penhall. (credit: DMV)

Connor M. Penhall. (credit: DMV)

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POMONA (CBS) — An Arcadia man faces gross vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving charges in the death of actor and motorcycle racing champion Bruce Penhall’s son, who was working for a Caltrans subcontractor.

Tatsuhiko Sakamoto, 37, was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury and driving with a .08 percent blood-alcohol content, along with the allegation of causing great bodily injury.

Authorities say Sakamoto was driving a Toyota RAV4 through a closed section of the San Bernardino (10) Freeway at Francisquito Avenue in Baldwin Park about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday when he hit 21-year-old Connor Penhall of Corona.

Penhall, who was operating a concrete saw for a Caltrans subcontractor, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Penhall’s father, Bruce Penhall, portrayed Officer Bruce Nelson in the final season of the “CHiPs” television series. He was also a champion motorcycle racer, a sport his son also competed in.

The actor went to the scene of the crash to identify his son.

Sakamoto faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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