|For Immediate Release
Case # 11CF3348
September 24, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Cell: 714-292-2718Farrah Emami
MAN SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON FOR DRIVING ON SUSPENDED LICENSE AND RENDERING VICTIM IN COMA WITH SEVERE BRAIN INJURY IN HIT AND RUN
FULLERTON – A man was sentenced to three years in state prison Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, for 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, July 26, 2012, of one felony count of hit and run with permanent injury.
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.
During the sentencing, a victim impact statement was presented to the court by the victim’s son who said that his father was completely disabled mentally and physically after the accident.
Deputy District Attorney Seton Hunt prosecuted this case.