A toddler in San Marcos, who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver the evening of February 4, 2009, has been identified as 18-month-old Christopher Castellanos. The boy, who lived with his parents and siblings in a trailer on Smilax Road near Adeline Court south of State Route 78, apparently wandered out of his yard and on to the roadway when a dark, older-model sedan heading south on Smilax struck him. The driver of the sedan drove away from the scene. Christopher was taken to an area hospital, but died shortly after the accident. Our source for this blog is this news report in the San Diego Union Tribune.
My heart goes out to the family of little Christopher who was killed tragically in this accident. I offer my deepest sympathies to everyone who knew and loved this child. Please keep them in your prayers.
First of all, I trust officials will soon apprehend the hit-and-run driver who fled the scene after striking this child. What kind of a person strikes a toddler and drives away from the scene without even making an attempt to help the child or contact the child’s family? Despicable! If arrested, this person will face criminal hit-and-run charges. Motorists in California are required to stop after an accident occurs – whether or not it was their fault. In this particular case, the accident may not have been the motorist’s fault. We don’t know. But he should have stopped and cooperated with the authorities.
According to the California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a): “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.” If it should turn out the driver who hit the toddler was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then that person will most likely face criminal vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI charges as well. Our law firm has represented numerous accident victims and it is our experience that a majority of drivers who flee the scene of an accident are intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Christopher’s family would be well-advised to consult an experienced Southern California personal injury attorney, who will examine the accident reports, interview witnesses and help determine who should be held responsible. A skilled personal injury attorney will also look into other factors that may have caused or contributed to the accident such as a dangerous condition on the roadway.