A motorist who allegedly struck and gravely injured a bicyclist last month near Mission Hills, then fled San Diego and was arrested in Kern County, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony hit and run charge.
Mauricio Flores, 29, is accused in the Aug. 21 crash at India and West Washington streets that seriously injured a 66-year-old man.
The victim was hospitalized with what police at the time said was a life-threatening head injury. His current condition is unknown.
Police said Flores was driving a 2005 Dodge Caravan that struck the victim.
Video footage shot by a witness shows the driver of a van, which had Georgia license plates, pulling to a stop following the collision and getting out along with a female passenger, identified by police as 50-year-old Jessica Bailey.
In the video, the pair walked over to the where the injured man was lying on the side of the road. After looking at him for few moments, the driver pulled the bent bicycle out from under the front of the van and set it aside, then got back into the vehicle along with his companion and drove off. A second, male passenger also was seen getting out of the van in the video, but he was not identified by police.
About one week after the crash, San Diego police posted Flores and Bailey’s names and pictures online and asked for the public’s assistance in locating the suspects.
According to the California Highway Patrol, an off-duty Kern County CHP officer who had seen a flyer about the hit-and-run case came across the Caravan while riding his motorcycle in Lake Isabella, an unincorporated community about 35 miles northeast of Bakersfield.
The officer reported the van, which had California government-agency license plates.
Three days later, another CHP officer spotted the van — now bearing Vermont plates — in a parking lot outside a Vons store in the area and called in sheriff’s deputies, who found Flores and Bailey and arrested them, CHP spokesman Robert Rodriguez said.
Flores was booked Sept. 3 into a San Diego County jail and remains held on $100,000 bail following his Monday morning arraignment. His next court date is a Oct. 6 readiness conference.
Jail records do not indicate Bailey is in custody, and it is unclear what charges, if any, she may face.
–City News Service