A 50-year-old man was sentenced Friday to time served in jail and ordered to pay $16,000 in restitution to the family of a bicyclist he ran over and killed while driving a truck in Anaheim.

Orange County Superior Court. Photo by John Schreiber
Filemon Reynaga of Sylmar was convicted in August of felony hit-and-run causing death and a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter stemming from the Oct. 30, 2013, crash at 125 E. Orangethorpe Ave., that killed 19-year-old Manuel Rodriguez.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue had earlier indicated he would hand down a two-year sentence, meaning Reynaga would have to do another five months, starting today, according to Deputy District Attorney Stephen Cornwell.

Instead, however, Donahue let Reynaga go based on an appeal from the victim’s family, the prosecutor said.

“They said they didn’t want (Renaga) to have to serve any more time because they didn’t want his family to have to go through the way they missed their nephew,” Cornwell said.

The $16,000 in restitution is to help Rodriguez’s family pay for his burial in Mexico, Cornwell said.

“It was really touching,” Cornwell said of the mercy from Rodriguez’s family. “The family was going through so much pain, but it was really heartfelt and genuine the way they reached out to the defendant’s family. They felt a lot of compassion for what the family was going through missing their dad.”

The sentence was also structured so Donahue could put Reynaga on probation for three years, Cornwell said. If Reynaga does not pay the restitution within that time the judge may extend probation, the prosecutor said.

If Reynaga otherwise violates the terms of probation he could face up to four years in prison, Cornwell said.

Reynaga expressed some remorse for his crime to probation officials, Cornwell said.

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