Man Pleads Guilty in Hit and Run Crash that Killed Popular Fountain Valley Runner
A 40-year-old man has pleaded guilty to a hit-and-run crash in August that killed Juan Ramirez Garcia, a beloved local jogger. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, John Motesharrei pleaded guilty to hit and run with permanent injury, a felony, and hit and run with property damage, which is a misdemeanor. Motesharrei was arrested on Aug. 24 and has been in jail since. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9.
Brought to Justice
The incident occurred the night of Aug. 23 near Brookhurst and Heil streets close to Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. Garcia was known as an “inspirational runner” in the local community. The driver at the time had left the scene, but investigators tracked him down after leads came putting in. They determined Garcia, who was found in the right shoulder of northbound Brookhurst Street, was struck while running on the curb line in the roadway outside the park. Garcia was pronounced dead at the scene.
Motesharrei pleaded guilty Oct. 26 to driving under the influence of a drug and operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license. He was ordered to participate in a three-month first offender alcohol program and was placed on three years of informal probation, according to court records.
We are relieved that the hit-and-run driver in this case was apprehended and brought to justice thanks to average citizens who supplied police investigators with timely leads. Our heartfelt condolences go out to everyone who knew and loved Juan Ramirez Garcia.
Losses Suffered by Victims
Leaving the scene of an injury or fatal car accident is a felony crime under California law. In this particular case, it appears that the driver was also operating under the influence of a drug and was driving without a valid license. We hope his guilty pleas provide some sense of closure to Garcia’s family.
However, as personal injury lawyers who represent hit-and-run victims and families that have lost loved ones in such heartbreaking cases, we know that the suffering goes beyond the day in court. We see injured victims who are left with permanent injuries and disabilities, who have to deal with their new reality and cope with it for the rest of their lives.
You see families that have lost loved ones that not only deal with the emotional trauma, but also the financial strain of losing a wage earner or bread winner. An experienced injury attorney can help victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.