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Driver Charged With Murder in Crash Killing Hoover High Student

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Rashad Al-Hakim Jr., 15, was run over and killed by a driver, who allegedly was under the influence of drugs. (Hoover High School)
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Lisa Ellen Spoors, 39, faces a murder charge for allegedly driving the vehicle that killed a Hoover High School student in October.

Lisa Ellen Spoors booking photo from 2016. She was arrested for violating a restraining order, but no charges were filed in that case. (Fresno County SO)

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office announced three charges against Spoors in a news release on Thursday afternoon. In addition to murder, she is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, and leaving the scene of the accident.

If convicted of murder, Spoors faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

Previous DUI Conviction

The DA’s Office said that Spoors, a graduate teaching assistant at Fresno State who has since been placed on leave, was convicted of DUI in 2008.

“In that case, she was advised that driving under the influence was dangerous to human life and that she could be charged with murder if she did so, and a person was killed as a result of that driving,” the DA’s Office said in the news release.

It’s alleged that Spoors was driving northbound on First Street on the evening of Oct. 4 when she struck Rashad Al-Hakim Jr. as he was crossing the roadway in front of the school. He died six days later at a hospital from his injuries.

“Spoors left the scene of the crash and returned to the area after approximately 20 minutes,” the DA’s Office said. “Results from the Spoors’ toxicology report at the time of the incident indicate that she had a combination of illicit and prescription substances in her system.”

Spoors was previously identified on social media posts as the driver in the fatal collision.

On Oct. 22, the university said that Spoors had been placed on “investigatory leave” pending a university review of the accident.

Rashad’s Aunt Wants Safer Routes to School

On Dec. 7, Terajee Hakim, who is Rashad’s aunt, was overcome with emotion as she spoke at Fresno Unified school board meeting.

“My nephew was murdered in front of his school in the school zones. And I just want to know, what are you guys going to do to protect these students? To protect these kids? What security measures do you guys have in place now?” she asked.

Both Superintendent Bob Nelson and Hoover Area Trustee Claudia Cazares told Hakim that the district is focusing on student safety in the wake of Rashad’s death. Cazares thanked Hakim and her family for their efforts to personally make sure students are safely crossing streets.

Mayor Will Meet With Education Leaders

Mayor Jerry Dyer, who met with Rashad’s family after his death, has scheduled a meeting for early January with Fresno-area school district leaders to talk school safety, spokeswoman Sontaya Rose said.

Fresno has had between 20 and 29 pedestrian fatalities every year since 2017, according to statistics provided to GV Wire by Fresno Police Lt. Bill Dooley.

“I cannot imagine the amount of pain Rashad’s family has experienced as a result of this tragic loss of life,” Dyer said in a statement released Thursday. “I remain committed to working with
superintendents, members of the police department, and public works to strengthen and develop traffic safety strategies that will minimize risk to children as they walk or bike to and from school. It is my hope that our ongoing efforts to improve safety will prevent other families from having to experience the unnecessary pain of losing a loved one.”

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email