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Man accused of killing 19-month-old while driving drunk is arraigned

"To just drive off when you hit a 1-year-old baby...you are a true monster,” said the girl's aunt.

SAN DIEGO — The man accused of killing a 19-month-old girl while driving drunk pleaded not guilty in court Friday.

Margarito Angeles Vargas was arraigned on several charges, including felony DUI, hit and run, driving on a suspended license and second-degree murder.

The crash happened Saturday in City Heights.

Annaleeh Rodarte Navarro was outside her grandparents’ home when San Diego Police say 45-year-old Vargas was driving under the influence and hit her without stopping.

Details regarding how the crash happened and why the girl was in the street are still under investigation.

CBS 8 has learned Vargas has a prior DUI from 2016, which is why this case carries the added murder charge.

"When a person is previously convicted of a DUI, they are advised of the danger to human life that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs poses. As a part of that case, they will also be advised they can be charged with murder if they get another DUI and cause the death of another person," said Deputy District Attorney, Hailey Williams.

Several of Annaleeh’s family members were at Friday’s arraignment.

Afterwards, they gathered in the backyard of a Logan Heights home where a food fundraiser was held to help Annaleeh’s family pay for her funeral.

"It feels like we have joy because there's people here helping and caring but there's still that pain," said Amanda Martinez, Annaleeh's aunt.

Martinez says the little girl was full of life. To have it end the way it did is devastating.

“She was sweet, she was always happy and to just drive off when you hit a one year old baby…you are a true monster,” said Martinez.

Vargas faces 15 years to life and is being held without bail.

His next court appearance is October 7.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Annaleeh's funeral.

WATCH RELATED: Family members mourn 1-year-old girl killed by suspected DUI driver in City Heights (September 2022)

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