Trial ordered for accused hit-and-run driver in bicyclist's death
VISTA (CNS) - A man charged as the hit-and-run driver who left a bicycle rider to die along a Rancho Santa Fe Road July 6 will stand trial and could be sentenced to four years in prison if convicted.
Jin Hyuk Byun, 19, is suspected of driving a black a 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche that fatally struck 18-year-old Angel Bojorquez about 2 a.m. that Friday, a grocery clerk at an Albertsons in Del Mar.
Vista Superior Court Judge Sim von Kalinowski, who heard evidence presented against Byun in a preliminary hearing, decided that authorities had what they needed to prosecute him. The set trial for Nov. 27 and a readiness conference for Oct. 31.
Police and California Highway Patrol officers testified that Byun was sweating when authorities showed up at his home to question him about the damaged SUV.
"He was sweating like he just worked out at the gym," CHP Officer Mark Keyes testified, saying it made him think Byun had a medical condition "because he was shaking so bad at the time."
Bojorquez, who lived in Escondido with an older brother and his aunt and uncle, was found dead in shrubs along a curvy section of Via De La Valle. He was riding without a light on his bicycle when he was struck, according to authorities.
Deputy District Attorney Aimee McLeod said Byun knew that he had run into a person.
"Based on the amount of distance on that roadway that he would have been able to see a person in a reflective vest, that the location that the body struck the hood of the truck up above the headlight assembly, the fact that he pulled over to an area where no one would be able to see him, that he removed the tire, then drove home for five miles and hid the vehicle inside the garage, those are the reasons he knew he hit a person and failed to stop or do anything" she said outside of court.
A brother, Steve Bojorquez, said he and Angel worked at the same store and often rode to work together. That Friday, however, Angel rode to work by himself. He had only ridden the 20 miles or so from work to home a few times, his brother said.
Bojorquez was riding north near Paseo Delicias when a dark-colored SUV drifted onto the shoulder and struck him, according to CHP Officer Chris Parent.
When questioned about damage to his SUV, Byun told investigators his Chevy Avalanche was garaged and had not been driven recently because of electrical problems, according to the CHP.
At the preliminary hearing, CHP Officer Steven Jio testified that Byun started sobbing when he was questioned and eventually told the arresting officer what happened.
"He thought he struck a mailbox, maybe a deer, maybe a dog, he wasn't sure," Jio testified.
Jio said the Byun told him he reached to adjust the radio, heard a loud "clink" and noticed he had a flat tire.
Byun removed the tire and drove about five miles to his house on the rim, authorities said.