Hit and run driver who struck bicyclist in Encinitas sentenced - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hit and run driver who struck bicyclist in Encinitas sentenced

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VISTA (CNS/CBS8) - A motorist who struck a bicyclist near Leucadia State Beach in Encinitas, then left the scene, was sentenced Monday to two years in state prison.

Joseph Ricardo Fernandez, 46, was convicted in July of hit-and-run causing death. His sentence was handed down by Vista Superior Court Judge K. Michael Kirkman.

James Swarzman was riding with friends when he was struck from behind about 1 a.m. on April 10 in the 1200 block of North Coast Highway 101, said sheriff's Sgt. Mark O'Connor. The driver of the Dodge Ram 1500 did not stop, and the 47-year-old Encino resident died several hours later at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.

Fernandez, a Carlsbad resident, came forward the next day to say he believed he might have been involved in the crash, O'Connor said.

James' mother, Linda Swarzman, says the sentence was not enough for the crime committed. Meanwhile, James father, Judd Swarzman, stood in front of Fernandez before the sentence was handed down and said he forgave Fernandez. He added that he didn't intentionally target his son that early morning.

Linda Swarzman says the sad part of it all is that Fernandez may end up serving less than a year for the crime and be released to spend his life with his family, while they will never be with James again.

James Swarzman's fiance, Nicole Honda, was too distraught to appear in court to give her impact statement. Instead she sent a message to be read to the court. She says since the accident she's not been able to work or ride. She adds the ride they were preparing for was suppose to be part of their honeymoon in Europe.

Joseph Fernandez appeared more affected by the fiance's statement than any others as he visibly bowed his head and fought back tears.


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