A motorist accused of fatally hitting a 17-year-old boy on an ATV in Mead Valley, then fleeing the scene, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to vehicular manslaughter and other charges.
Froylan Franco Arqueta, 55, of Perris was arrested Friday, the day after the death of Axel Perez of Perris.
Along with manslaughter, Arqueta is charged with hit-and-run resulting in property damage and being an unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle, with a sentence-enhancing allegation of fleeing a deadly collision.
He was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for April 20 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
The judge ordered Arqueta held in lieu of $85,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Juan Quintero, Arqueta hit objects outside a residence in the area of Myron and Mead streets, then sped off shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday.
Moments later, while racing away from the initial hit-and-run, the defendant smashed into Perez’s quad, which resembles a dune buggy, in the 20700 block of Myron, and kept driving, Quintero alleged. The teen was killed on impact.
Arqueta could not be located by CHP officers or Riverside County sheriff’s deputies who converged on the area, according to the CHP spokesman. But sufficient evidence was left behind to identify the defendant’s vehicle, and he was summoned to the Riverside CHP office, where he was interviewed and taken into custody the following day, Quintero said.
Court records show that Arqueta has prior misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence and driving without a license.
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