Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A judge indicated Friday that he would hand down a two-year term for a delivery truck driver convicted of hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter, but put off sentencing until January so the defendant would not have to go to prison.

Filemon Reynaga, 49, of Sylmar, was convicted last month of felony hit-and-run causing death and a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter stemming from the Oct. 30, 2013, collision at 125 E. Orangethorpe Ave.

Reynaga faces up to four years in prison, but Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue indicated he would hand down a two-year sentence.

The defendant is eligible to do his time in the county jail instead of prison, so his sentencing was put off until Jan. 29, when he will waive whatever credits he has in custody and then be officially sentenced to a year in jail, which will amount to a full year behind bars for a two-year sentence when accounting for credit for good behavior.

Donahue also intends to put Reynaga on three years of formal probation, so if the defendant violates the terms of his release, he could face another two years behind bars, according to Deputy District Attorney Stephen Cornwell.

Reynaga was making deliveries when he pulled out of a driveway on Missile Way onto Orangethorpe about 5:35 a.m. and struck Manual Morales Rodriguez of Fullerton, according to Cornwell.

A second vehicle also struck the victim, but unlike Reynaga, that driver remained on the scene to speak with authorities, the prosecutor said.

The owner and general manager of the heating and air conditioning company that employed Reynaga told investigators that when he contacted the defendant about the collision, he was still making deliveries, Cornwell said. Reynaga’s boss told him to go back to the scene and wait for officers, the prosecutor said.

A police inspection of the truck showed damage to the front end and “fresh scuff marks” beneath the cab and tires, Cornwell said. A broken fog light found at the scene matched where one was missing on the truck, he said.

Reynaga’s attorney, Chaim Magnum, told jurors that “either Mr. Reynaga didn’t cause the accident or someone else hit this individual.” He also suggested his client may not have been aware of striking the victim.

A witness, Michael Villareal, testified that he was on his way to work when he saw a body in the road along with a banged up bicycle before he came across the truck with its hazard lights blinking.

Villareal testified he pulled over to call 911, and then he saw the driver of the truck “walk back toward the body.”

Villareal said he saw the company name Casco in red lettering on the side of the truck and noticed the driver get within a few feet of the body. The witness said was still on the phone with a 911 dispatcher and had lost sight of the truck driver when he heard tires screeching and looked up to see the victim get struck by a car.

That driver got out of his vehicle, looked underneath to see the body stuck there, “and then I saw him put his hands on his head,” Villareal testified.

— City News Service

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