Police say the suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash that took the life of 4-year-old Santa Rosa boy was cited for driving without a license less than a week before he plowed through a West Ninth Street crosswalk Thursday night and killed the youngster.
Marcos Lopez Garcia, 22, was cited once for unlicensed driving last year and then again last Saturday, with instructions to appear in court Oct. 18 and ordered not to drive until then, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Rich Celli said Friday.
Instead, Garcia, who lives just a few blocks away from Lincoln School and adjoining Jacobs Park, found himself westbound on West Ninth Street as a Santa Rosa woman and her three young children were in a crosswalk at Rockwell Place headed to soccer practice, Celli said.
Boy Hit In Santa Rosa Crosswalk
The driver in the inner westbound lane stopped, police said.
But Garcia kept on going, smacking the 4-year-old boy so hard he flew about 30 feet, police said.
The boy had been lagging behind his mother, who was urging him on, and two sisters who were nearly if not already across the street when their brother was struck, Celli said.
The child, whose name has not been released because his parents are still struggling to inform family members of his death, was flown to Oakland Children's Hospital, where died about 7:30 a.m. Friday, police said.
Celli said Garcia's car was impounded for 30 days when he was caught driving without a license last year.
It was not impounded last weekend, however, at the discretion of the Santa Rosa police officer who stopped him on nearby North Dutton Avenue. Celli said police hope Garcia's defiance of orders received at that point not to drive will be factored into his prosecution.
But the incident has proved gut-wrenching for many involved, Celli said, and frustrating because of the effort authorities have made in recent years to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities in Santa Rosa.