CBS8 reports that a motorist convicted of driving under the influence when he struck an 18-month-old girl with his SUV in City Heights in September has been ordered to stand trial for second-degree murder.
According to testimony, 45-year-old Margarito Angeles Vargas was driving drunk on Saturday, September 24, 2022, when he hit the infant just outside her grandparent’s home located in the 3800 block of Redwood Street in City Heights.
Vargas fled the scene of the crash. A neighbor followed the defendant and confronted him. Vargas said he didn’t hit anyone and took off again. Soon after, police officers found Vargas and placed him under arrest on suspicion of DUI.
The child was rushed to an area hospital, where she died of her injuries while being held by her mother.
Prosecutors called several witnesses to the incident and provided surveillance videos. One video showed the tragic moment when the little girl was struck by Vargas’ SUV. Toxicology tests taken approximately three hours after the tragic incident show that Vargas’ blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit of .08 percent.
Court records show that Vargas had a previous DUI conviction in 2016.
The defendant’s attorney argued that Vargas could not see the victim, given how high his vehicle was from the ground and how small the child was. She argued that this is why he didn’t call the police and stopped for a snack at an area convenience store.
Vargas’ attorney also told the court that the child was not supervised then and was in the street when she was hit.
A judge has set Vargas’ court date for May 18. If convicted of second-degree murder, he could face 15 years to life in prison.