Angelo Fabiani said he was in shock when he left his 4-year-old son at the site of an accident. Photo courtesy of the CHP

Updated 8:45 p.m. March 23, 2015

A DUI probationer who left his injured 4-year-old son behind after the boy fell 10 feet from his car seat to the sidewalk following a crash on a San Diego freeway transition ramp was convicted Monday of felony hit- and-run causing death or serious injury but acquitted of felony child endangerment.

Jurors deliberated about two hours before finding Angelo Fabiani guilty in connection with the June 2, 2013, accident that killed his son Valentino.

Fabiani faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced on April 17.

Judge Joseph Brannigan — who said Fabiani has four prior DUI convictions — was ordered held without bail pending sentencing.

Fabiani was also arrested for suspicion of DUI while he was out on bail on the current case, Brannigan noted.

“I think he’s a menace (on the road),” Brannigan said after the verdict.

In her closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Marisa Di Tillio said Fabiani walked away from the June 2013 accident after unlatching a seat belt that was holding Valentino’s car seat in place, sending the child headfirst into the concrete below.

The youngster was declared brain-dead eight days later.

“He (the defendant) left him there,” Di Tillio told the jury. “He was reckless in what he did.”

Fabiani, 41, testified that he left the scene because he couldn’t bear to see his bloodied son, whom he thought was already dead.

The two were headed to the home of the child’s mother after a day at Mission Bay when the accident occurred about 8 p.m. Fabiani said after leaving the scene, he walked 19 miles to his home in Imperial Beach.

For two days following the accident, Fabiani didn’t call police or check on his son’s condition, Di Tillio said. He was arrested around noon on June 4, 2013.

“He knew police were looking for him,” Di Tillio said. “The whole city was looking for him. He only thought about himself.”

In the days after the crash, Fabiani went on a dating website and talked with friends and family members on Facebook about getting across the border into Mexico, Di Tillio said.

“I can’t live with myself,” Fabiani wrote in one Facebook message. “I’ve done the ultimate bad. I’m on the run from the law.”

Di Tillio said Fabiani was arrested as he made plans to meet a friend who agreed to drive him into Mexico.

The prosecutor said there was no evidence that the defendant was knocked unconscious in the accident and that his brain “shut down,” as the defense claimed.

Defense attorney Allen Bloom argued that Fabiani should have been hailed as a hero for jumping in the back of his damaged pickup truck and trying to free his son, instead of being charged with a pair of crimes.

“What would she (the prosecutor) have him do?” Bloom asked. “Would any of us done any differently? He tried to save his boy. Angelo’s actions here were not reckless. They were heroic.”

Bloom said Fabiani was in shock when he left what he thought was his dead child and walked home to Imperial Beach in his flip-flops.

Fabiani’s brain “shut down” and didn’t come back “online” until about 40 hours later, Bloom told the jury.

— City News Service

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