Early Monday morning truck driver 49-year-old Sylmar resident Filemon Reynaga was making his daily route when he struck and killed 19-year-old Manuel Rodriguez of Fullerton while making a turn onto Orangewood Avenue in Anaheim.
Surveillance video from a local business caught the semi-truck slowing as he made the blind right-hand turn but did not stop. The semi-truck then ran over Rodriguez and then began to drag his bike and body.
Once Filemon realized what had happened, he exited the truck and examined the body then proceeded to enter his truck and flee the scene. He was then arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor manslaughter.
During Reynaga’s trial, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Stephen Cornwell stated to the jury how the semi-truck struck 19-year-old Rodriguez, demolishing his bike and throwing his body into the center of the road.
Reynaga’s defense attorney Chaim Magnum explained to the jury that he did not plan to fight the prosecutors’ description of the collision. However, he reminded the jury that to find his client guilty, the prosecutor has to prove that his client was aware the he struck Rodriguez.
Michael Villareal witnessed the accident that Monday morning and was asked to testify. Villareal when to describe as he pulled over to call 911, he could see the driver walking alongside the truck.
“He walked up to the body and was looking at it,” Villareal said.“How close did this person get to the body in the road,” Cornwell asked. “About 5 feet or less,” Villareal responded.
As Villareal was talking to the 911 operator, a second vehicle had hit Rodriguez’s body. By that time, the semi-truck had fled the scene of the accident.
“I was looking down and I heard a screech of tires, and I saw another car hit the bike and hit the body and drag it,” Villareal said, noting that the second driver pulled over to the curb, looked under his car, saw the body and “put his hands on his head.”
Any type of accident can be devastating to those involved and even to loved ones. If you have been involved in an accident in Orange County and are not sure what to do? Contact our dedicated attorneys at Guldjian Law today.