Walter Mencken 4 p.m., May 3
Friday night party bus finishes with head under car
Escondido man denies DUI hit-and-run causing injury
Three young Latinas testified that they got on a “party bus” about 9 p.m. Friday night, March 8, and went downtown to the Belo nightclub in San Diego for an evening of drinking and dancing.
It was a little before 3 a.m. when Bonnie and Diana and Eneyra said they disembarked the bus that had returned more than a dozen revelers to the huge parking lot around the Westfield shopping center in San Diego’s North County. (Formerly known as the North County Fair Mall.)
Bonnie said the three ladies trailed the rest of the group walking towards their cars parked nearby, because all three wore “high heels.”
“That’s when I felt the hit,” said Diana. “I felt a big impact on my lower back.” The three women described being struck from behind by a large white SUV. They said they were thrown to the asphalt, and saw the car stop and back away, and then speed off.
Eneyra testified at a preliminary hearing, and described finding herself briefly stuck underneath the car. She said her long hair was caught under one tire, but her quick-thinking friend Bonnie pulled her head away just in time, before the car moved. Eneyra wept when she remembered the moment, in court on March 27, 2013. The witness confirmed evidence photos that were taken at hospital, which showed a large bloody gash on her scalp.
At least one witness followed the fleeing vehicle and got the license plate number, before the car crashed into bushes at the other end of the parking lot, according to officers’ testimony.
Escondido police officers said they found Aaron Danny Hernandez, 25, using his cell phone near a white Ford Expedition parked in some bushes.
“He was standing next to his vehicle,” said officer Brandi Friedman. “He was on the phone.” The officer described Hernandez as swaying, smelling of alcohol, with “slurred” speech. Officer Friedman said, “He did make a statement that he hit somebody.”
Officer Todd Gimenez confirmed, “He was very talkative.” The officers testified that Hernandez made statements both admitting and denying that he had struck someone.
One hour after the incident, Hernandez blew .245 and .237 percent blood alcohol level, in breathalyzer tests, according to officers. This is approximately three times the legal standard for intoxication in California, listed as .08.
Sheriff’s records describe Hernandez as 5 feet 11 inches tall and 225 pounds.
Public defender Brian Dooley pointed out that the Ford was not registered in Hernandez’ name.
Judge Blaine K. Bowman ordered Hernandez to face three felony charges: two DUIs causing injury and one count of hit-and-run causing great bodily injury. Hernandez pleads not guilty and is currently held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
More like this:
- Escondido man who ran over women in crosswalk is sentenced — May 23, 2013
- Escondido man gets 45-years-to-Life for fatal DUI — April 30, 2013
- Jury deliberates fatal car crash charged as murder — March 4, 2013
- Escondido man on trial for murder after head-on collision — Feb. 27, 2013
- The Sarcastic Killer — Aug. 2, 2007