SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who abandoned his four-year-old son following a freeway crash near the Midway District, leaving the child bleeding on a transition ramp with injuries that proved fatal, was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison.
Angelo Fabiani, 41, has four prior DUI convictions and was arrested on suspicion of DUI while out on bail in his current case. A jury convicted him of hit-and-run causing death but acquitted him of felony child endangerment in connection with the June 2, 2013, accident that killed his son, Valentino.
In denying probation, Judge Joseph Brannigan noted Fabiani's lengthy criminal record and history of probation revocations. Fabiani was on probation for a DUI conviction at the time of the 8 p.m. accident that claimed his son's life.
Brannigan told the defendant that he would have to come to grips with the fact that he left his son "to die in the arms of strangers."
Deputy District Attorney Marisa Di Tillio said Fabiani walked away from the accident scene after unlatching a seat belt that was holding Valentino's car seat in place, sending the child headfirst into the concrete below. The youngster was declared brain-dead eight days later.
Fabiani testified that he left the scene -- walking 19 miles to his Imperial Beach home in flip-flops -- because he couldn't bear to see his bloodied son, whom he thought was already dead.
Di Tillio said that wasn't true. She said no one will ever know if Fabiani had been drinking that day because he fled.
"He hid. He laid low," the prosecutor told the judge. "He knew that what he did was wrong and that police were looking for him."
Di Tillio read a letter from Valentino's mother, in which she said the defendant's decision to walk away from the accident scene was "beyond my comprehension."
"His dad should have been by his side," she wrote.
Fabiani apologized for the way he reacted following the crash, saying he was either hit in the face with an airbag or struck his head on the roof of the vehicle.
Defense attorney Allen Bloom said Fabiani "heroically" jumped onto his truck and tried to save his son after the crash, and argued that his client walking away did not delay medical treatment for Valentino.
Bloom said Fabiani's brain shut down after the crash and didn't come back "online" until 40 hours later.
For two days following the accident, Fabiani didn't call police or check on his son's condition, Di Tillio said. He was arrested around noon on June 4, 2013.
In the days after the crash, Fabiani went on a dating website and talked with friends and family members on Facebook about getting across the border into Mexico, Di Tillio said. She said Fabiani was arrested as he made plans to meet a friend who agreed to drive him into Mexico.