TURLOCK (CBS13) — The Turlock Police Department has arrested a man accused of two hit-and-run crashes that left an 11-year-old girl dead and five others injured.
On Sunday just before 5:30 p.m., Josue Leyva, 25, allegedly hit a motorcycle and then another car with his SUV, killing an 11-year-old girl, and sending four others to the hospital before fleeing the scene.
Turlock police said Leyva turned himself in to police on Monday and was later arrested and booked on charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and multiple charges of hit and run causing injury.
Police are saying they can’t say at this time, or may never be able to say, if drugs or alcohol played a factor in this case based on current evidence and because Leyva turned himself sober in the following day.
Attorney Mark Reichel told CBS13 that investigators need to prove Leyva was under the influence. Adding that it, even if Leyva was drunk at the time, turning himself in when he was sober may not make much of a difference.
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“I mean look, they’re going to charge him with leaving the scene of an accident. But, if that person had stayed behind and law enforcement got there and determined if they were drunk and determined drinking caused this accident and resulted in a death; they would’ve been charged that night. So, by fleeing, all that did was postpone the inventible,” Reichel said.
Reichel also said that any prosecutor seeking sentencing or any judge would highlight the fact that Leyva is accused of hit and run causing injury when and if it came to sentencing.
The Turlock Police told CBS13 that since November 1, 2019, there have been nine crashes at the intersection of Lander and Linwood Avenues. Five of them were injury incidents and four were non-injury incidents.
A further breakdown from the department shows that one of the non-injury incidents and the four non-injury crashes were a DWI and two of the injury accidents, including Sundays, were hit and run incidents.
Some told CBS13 that this was a situation that could have been prevented on an intersection known for speeding.
“It’s very sad, and it’s sad that we have people who speed through here and think that they can,” Lonie Weaver said. “On the daily, I always see people speeding through trying to catch the light, think they can turn in front of you. Yeah, it’s a very dangerous road.”
“It hurts because I have four boys and I would hate for that to happen to us and them,” Angelia Escalante said. “My heart goes out to the family. You know, 11? Wow, it’s just so young. It’s crazy how people drive. They don’t have any remorse at times, like that accident.”
Turlock Police told CBS13 that this is still an on-going investigation.