A motorist who allegedly struck a bicyclist near Lindbergh Field in late August — leading to the victim’s death about a month later — was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on a felony hit-and-run charge.
Mauricio Armando Flores, 29, faces up to four years in state prison if convicted in the Aug. 21 crash on West Washington Street that led to the death of 65-year-old Dan Sweeney.
Though police did not publicly announce Sweeney’s death, testimony from Flores’ preliminary hearing on Tuesday afternoon confirmed that the cyclist’s injuries proved fatal. He died Oct. 5 at UCSD Medical Center, according to testimony and an obituary posted online.
Police and prosecutors allege Flores was driving a 2005 Dodge Caravan that struck the victim from behind, and that he fled the county without informing law enforcement of his involvement in the crash.
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 are seen walking over to the where the injured man was lying on the side of the road. After looking at him for a 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.
About one week after the crash, San Diego police posted Flores and Bailey’s names and photos 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 flier 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.
Three days later, another CHP officer spotted the van — now bearing Vermont plates — in a parking lot outside a Vons store in Lake Isabella and called sheriff’s deputies, who found Flores and Bailey and arrested them, CHP spokesman Robert Rodriguez said.
Flores’ next court date is a Jan. 7 readiness conference. He remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail.
An obituary posted in the Coronado Times states that Sweeney was a 1974 Coronado High School graduate, who is survived by his brother, sister and half-brother.
— City News Service