Photo by Alexander Nguyen
Photo by Alexander Nguyen

A 42-year-old man faces up to a year in jail when he is sentenced next month for driving drunk and running over a downed motorcyclist and injuring a good Samaritan who was trying to help him.

Jesus Mendoza-Hernandez pleaded guilty Tuesday to drunken driving with a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury on a victim. He also admitted he was driving without a valid driver’s license, a misdemeanor.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Gassia Apkarian, who offered the plea deal to the defendant, delayed sentencing until Aug. 26 to give the victim a chance to weigh in, according to Deputy District Attorney Rick Welsh.

The bizarre series of collisions began Sept. 21 when 24-year-old Dayton Hudson of Santa Ana was riding a motorcycle at speeds in excess of 100 mph southbound on the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway and hit the rear end of another vehicle, Welsh said.

The impact sent Hudson and his motorcycle off the freeway onto the 2100 block of South Ritchey, according to police.

A motorist who was passing by nearly struck Hudson, then turned back to help him, Welsh said. Moments later — just before 1 a.m. — Mendoza-Hernandez ran over Hudson and struck the good Samaritan, who was on the phone with authorities and dashing across the street to talk to the first police officer on the scene, Welsh added.

Hudson died later at a hospital, but authorities determined he was killed from injuries sustained in his initial crash, not as a result of being run over by Mendoza-Hernandez, officials said.

“We went to great lengths to make sure (Mendoza-Hernandez) was not a contributing factor to the death of the motorcyclist,” Welsh said.

Welsh said the lighting was poor on the street.

Prosecutors alleged Mendoza-Hernandez’s blood-alcohol level was 0.09 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

When the defendant agreed to plead guilty, Apkarian promised not to sentence him to more than a year in jail, according to court records.

— Wire Reports 

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