In California, like many other states, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without stopping to exchange information. If the accident involves just property damage, the charge is a misdemeanor. If the accident involves injury or death, it could be a felony. One reason many people may flee a scene is if they have been drinking or are intoxicated by drugs. When a person does this, not only do they face the DUI charges, which can be felonies themselves, depending on the circumstances, but they will also face separate hit and run charges. If convicted, the penalties for both crimes will be applied.
KTLA reports that a bicyclist killed by a suspected DUI hit and run driver has been identified and the driver charged.
The accident occurred at about 1:10 a.m. on July 31st on Mission Boulevard west of Baker Avenue. The bicyclist who was killed in the crash was identified as 22-year-old Thomas Shane Pinto by the San Bernardino County Coroner’s office.
In a statement, the San Bernardino Police Department said that 31-year-old Julio Tapia was allegedly responsible for striking and killing Pinto. Tapia fled the scene, but shortly after, a report of a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot on Baker Avenue was received.
Police discovered Tapia inside the vehicle. The vehicle had damage that was consistent with striking Pinto. Tapia was also bleeding from minor injuries. Police also allege that when they found Pinto, he was found to be intoxicated.
Tapia was arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter, DUI, and hit-and-run. His bail was set at $250,000.