|For Immediate Release
Case # 11CF3348
July 26, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN DRIVING ON SUSPENDED LICENSE CONVICTED OF HIT AND RUN, RENDERING VICTIM IN COMA WITH SEVERE BRAIN INJURY
FULLERTON – A man was convicted today of driving on a suspended license and causing another driver severe brain and spinal injuries in a hit and run crash. Oscar Paz, 32, Huntington Beach, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of hit and run with permanent injury. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison at his sentencing Sept. 21, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-13, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
At approximately 5:00 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2011, Paz was driving at a high rate of speed in his Volkswagen Jetta in the slow lane on California State Route 22 approaching Magnolia Street. He was driving with a suspended license for failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket.
The defendant rear-ended a Nissan driven by 66-year-old victim Gopal K. The victim’s vehicle was pushed across all freeway lanes into a center divider. Paz exited the freeway without stopping to assist or offer help to Gopal K., knowing the victim might be hurt or in distress. The defendant parked his car in a nearby strip mall and fled on foot. He called his girlfriend for a ride home.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP), who investigated the case, arrived at the scene and found the defendant’s car. Two days after the collision, Paz turned himself in to the CHP Westminster office.
The victim was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where he remained in a coma in critical condition for several weeks. Gopal K. sustained a brain and severe spinal injuries, is still unable to walk or speak, and continues to suffer constant pain.
Deputy District Attorney Seton Hunt is prosecuting this case.