Case # 15HF0006
Date: November 17, 2016
TAXI CAB DRIVER SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR IN JAIL FOR HIT-AND-RUN CRASH THAT KILLED PEDESTRIAN IN NEWPORT BEACH ON NEW YEAR’S DAY
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A taxi cab driver was sentenced today to one year in jail for crashing into a pedestrian, resulting in the victim’s death, and driving away from the scene. Ronald Aviles, 58, San Clemente, was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 24, 2016, of one felony count of hit and run with death. He was sentenced to one year in county jail and three years of formal probation.
At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2015, Aviles was driving his taxi van southbound on East Coast Highway and crashed into 23-year-old Travis Marton as the victim was crossing westbound at the intersection of Newport Coast Drive in Newport Beach. Aviles unlawfully failed to stop his vehicle and failed to render assistance to the injured victim. Marton was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Newport Beach Police Department, who investigated this case, found Marton’s body lying in the intersection. The Laguna Beach Police Department located Aviles driving in his taxi van in Laguna Beach, approximately five miles from where the victim’s body was found, and arrested the defendant.
At the time of the arrest, Aviles was driving the taxi with damage consistent with the collision, including a smashed windshield, dents on the hood, a dented bumper, and a missing driver-side mirror. Scattered debris at the collision site was consistent with damaged and missing vehicle parts from the defendant’s taxi van.
At Aviles’ sentencing today, the victim’s mother, father, brothers, aunt, and cousin made powerful impact statements to the court pursuant to Marsy’s Law. Ricky Marton, Travis’ mother, described the victim as genuine, humble, caring, and hardworking. She also said in part, “Travis had just finished college in June with a degree in Bio Engineering … He loved science, his first day of work was the day after his birthday, October 16th … His job was helping people who had received an organ transplant keep their bodies from rejecting the transplant. The manner in which he was killed, however, prevented and robbed him of giving his last gift to humanity, his organs.” She also said, “I am no longer the person I once was. On January 1st you not only took my son, you took my joy of life.”
The victim’s father, Andrew Marton III, said in part, “I try to remember all the good times we had with our son during his 23 years here with is and the wonderful life he had created for himself. But I still cry everyday when I think of all the joys in life yet to come … The loss of my son is not one finite moment, it is a continuous loss that will unfold over the course of my lifetime.”
Deputy District Attorney Stephen Cornwell prosecuted this case.