A 55-year-old Santa Ana resident with multiple drunken driving convictions was charged Thursday with second-degree murder, hit-and-run and DUI charges for allegedly running over a man sitting on a curb.
Ramon Horta-Jaime faces one felony count each of murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and hit-and-run causing permanent and serious injury, as well as a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license. His arraignment Thursday was rescheduled for Dec. 4.
Marcello Bisarello, 24, was sitting on a curb about 1:10 p.m. Tuesday at 814 E. McFadden Ave., a few doors down from his home, when he was struck by a 1995 Ford Windstar that kept going, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
A good Samaritan who saw what happened followed the van, honked and yelled at the driver to pull over and ultimately got him to stop by parking his car in front of the van, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney.
Horta-Jaime’s multiple prior convictions for drunken driving prompted the filing of a murder charge instead of vehicular manslaughter, Birney said.
In one case, he was charged in 1991 and convicted in 1997, Birney said. Another case dates back to 2000, and there was also a warrant out for his arrest on a DUI charge, Birney said.
The defendant’s license was suspended because of a prior DUI conviction, Birney said.
Horta-Jaime has been deported multiple times, according to Lori Haley of the Department of Homeland Security.
“Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Mr. Horta has been removed from the U.S. on multiple occasions, most recently in January 2012,” Haley said.
Horta-Jaime pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance to sell and driving on a suspended license Dec. 5, 2001, and was sentenced to nine months in jail, according to court records. On June 7, 2005, he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 16 months in jail.
The defendant pleaded guilty July 21, 2008, to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and was sentenced to two years in prison, according to court records.
Prosecutors plan to seek $1 million bail at the defendant’s arraignment, which was scheduled for sometime Thursday, Birney said.
Police found open containers of beer in the van following the defendant’s arrest, Bertagna said.
—City News Service