Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Escondido man who ran over women in crosswalk is sentenced
Judge wants felony-bad-driver to pay restitution
Aaron Danny Hernandez, 25, was sentenced to 365 days custody plus 5 years formal probation in San Diego’s North County Courthouse late yesterday, May 22, 2013.
Hernandez made a plea deal, admitting his guilt after he drove his Expedition into a group of three women in a crosswalk the early morning hours of March 9, 2013.
The women testified that it was raining when they got off a party bus and walked away, and that was when they were hit from behind. One woman found herself on the asphalt street, her head under Hernandez’ car and near one wheel, before her terrified companion pulled her head away just in time, the moment before Hernandez drove away.
Outraged bystanders followed Hernandez’ vehicle and called 911. Escondido police intercepted Aaron Danny Hernandez about 300 yards away, his vehicle was imbedded in some bushes and he was standing nearby on his phone, one officer testified. The incident occurred near a large shopping mall on East Via Rancho Parkway.
Hernandez’ blood alcohol tested at .245 and .237, according to statements in court. The legal intoxication limit in California is normally considered to be about .08 percent.
In court yesterday afternoon, Hernandez stated, “I’m very very sorry for what I did.” One of his victims attended the sentencing hearing. Defense attorney Brian Dooley explained that the defendant "was extraordinarily drunk” and that Hernandez did not really attempt to flee, but instead did not realize what had happened. The attorney said Hernandez will lose his employment as a tow truck driver because of this conviction.
Superior Court Judge Aaron Katz spoke directly to the defendant, telling him, “It’s lucky that these young ladies weren’t killed” and “Your son doesn’t need a drunk for a Dad.” Hernandez did agree with the judge.
Judge Katz declared that he wanted Hernandez to be employed so that he could pay restitution to his victims. The judge ordered the felony-bad-driver to serve 365 days jail, and five years formal probation, and to consume no alcohol.