SAN DIEGO (CNS and News 8) - A 19-year-old college student who's accused of failing to stop after hitting a 4-year-boy in South Encanto must stand trial on a felony charge of hit-and-run causing death, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Defense attorney Jeremiah Sullivan unsuccessfully urged Judge John Einhorn to reduce the felony charge against Samuel Metu to a misdemeanor.
Sullivan said the "tragic accident" happened around noon July 9 when Jameson Darapheth darted into traffic as Metu's attention was drawn to the victim's older brother walking a dog on the other side of Madrone Avenue.
Metu left the scene to get gas, but returned less than a half-hour later when he realized he had hit something, his attorney said.
Einhorn denied the defense motion to reduce the case to a misdemeanor, but told Sullivan he could renew the motion at a later time.
"This case should resolve," Einhorn told Sullivan and prosecutor Derek Grilz. "We've lost a little boy. There was no intent to harm that little boy by Mr. Metu whatsoever."
The victim's 12-year-old brother said Jameson tried to cross the street even though the older boy was yelling at him to stay put in front of his own home, said San Diego police Officer Christopher Velovich.
The 12-year-old said his little brother let one car pass, then darted into traffic and was hit by Metu's car, the officer testified.
"He felt and heard a bump," testified Detective Ronald Lemaster." and continued driving eastbound."
Catherine Metu, who was driving in front of her son so she could pay to fill up his car with gas at a local station, told the officer that he was acting "oddly" when he arrived at the gas station.
"She said her son told her he thought he hit something, but he wasn't sure what he hit," Velovich testified.
Detective Ronald Lemaster testified that Metu told him that he was looking at the 12-year-old boy and his dog "when he felt and heard a bump" and kept driving.
"He said it felt something like a speed bump," the detective said.
Metu was caught on surveillance camera at the gas station. A portion of that video was played at Tuesday's preliminary hearing.
"Atone point Mr. Metu drops to his knees, puts his hands on his head and looks toward the heavens," said deputy district attorney Derek Grilz. "The People feels this is a consciousness of guilt. He knew he killed someone.We're talking about a four-year-old child... killed in this case."
After leaving the gas station, Metu said he drove around for awhile to make sure his car was OK, the detective testified.
Traffic Officer George Maglaras testified that it didn't appear that Metu was speeding, nor were there any signs that he applied the brakes.
The victim -- who died of blunt force head injuries -- was apparently dragged about 46 feet, the officer said.
Metu, a football player, biology major and track athlete at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the felony charge. A readiness conference was set for Sept. 27 and trial for Oct. 18.
The San Diego Rescue Mission opened its doors to the homeless community on Saturday for its annual Thanksgiving celebration.
A man died after his body caught fire, police said Saturday. At 11:30 p.m. Friday, police received a call regarding a person on fire in a field near 5200 Pacific Highway in Mission Bay Park, according to the San Diego Police Department.
Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, local business owners and first responders teamed up for an all-to-real feeling hazard drill on Saturday.
A 5-year-old girl who was abducted from New York by her 32-year-old mother, who does not have custody of the child, was found safe Saturday in San Diego, police said.
Before Saturday, Marine veteran Joshua Ray, his wife and six children had just one vehicle to use for all of their family business, and Ray had to take the train from Oceanside to San Diego every day to get to work.
A sea of pink will travel through San Diego starting Friday for the Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day. The 60 mile journey kicks off early Friday morning and ends Sunday evening at the final destination – the celebratory Closing Ceremony.
A man arrested on suspicion of committing a murder in Imperial Beach earlier this week remained jailed Saturday.
Spencer Abbott had two goals and two assists after missing two games and Eric Fehr scored twice in his debut with the San Diego Gulls in an 8-3 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners Friday night.
On Friday, a fourth woman came forward with disturbing allegations of sexual assault by a San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the bawdy hard rock band AC/DC who helped create such head-banging anthems as "Highway to Hell," ''Hell's Bells" and "Back in Black," has died.