[symple_googlemap title=” 2800 block of South Central Avenue” location=” 2800 block of South Central Avenue” height=”300″ zoom=”15″]

A man who allegedly triggered a crash that sent a car careening into a South Los Angeles apartment building, killing a sleeping 5-year-old boy, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to criminal charges.

Jorge Ruiz-Garcia, 28, of Los Angeles, is charged with one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter stemming from the crash that killed Luis Sanchez.

The boy’s parents and three of his siblings were injured in the crash, which happened about 12:15 a.m. Dec. 1 in the 2800 block of South Central Avenue, near Adams Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Traffic Division.

Video from area surveillance cameras revealed that Ruiz-Garcia got into his parked vehicle, which was facing north along the east curb, started it up and made a U-turn directly into the path of an oncoming 2012 Chevrolet Cruz driven by Vrenda Moreno of La Puente, police said.

“There was contact between the two vehicles which caused the front grill of the turning vehicle to become dislodged,” according to a police statement. “The Chevy Cruz continued in a northwesterly direction and collided into the apartment building. The hit-and-run driver stopped briefly then fled the scene southbound on Central Avenue.”

Investigators identified Ruiz-Garcia after determining the vehicle grill belonged to a 1996 Saab with a registered owner who lived near the crash scene, police said.

Among the crash debris, investigators found a note the fatally injured child had written to Santa, asking for a new bicycle.

The boy’s parents suffered “severe injuries consisting of various bone fractures,” according to an LAPD statement. Three other children — a 16-year- old boy and two girls, ages 13 and 6 — had minor injuries, as did Moreno, then 23.

Moreno was initially alleged to be under the influence of alcohol and arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, but was subsequently released from custody after detectives discovered “the actual cause of the collision,” according to the LAPD.

Ruiz-Garcia surrendered to police Dec. 9 after a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he was subsequently released on $100,000 bond. He’s due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on March 20 to get a preliminary hearing date.

–City News Service

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