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Santa Rosa man postpones plea in fatal hit-and-run crosswalk crash

The Santa Rosa man charged with killing a 4-year-old in a crosswalk hit-and-run crash postponed entering a plea at a court appearance Tuesday morning.

Marcos Lopez Garcia, 22, who remains in custody on an immigration hold, requested more time so he could talk with family about hiring a private attorney.

He answered through an interpreter, "Yes, that's fine" when Judge Ken Gnoss asked if he would waive his right to a speedy trial until the next hearing, which was set for Sept. 8.

Garcia is charged with felony hit and run causing a death, misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license in the Aug. 18 crash that killed Christopher "Buddy" Rowe.

Funeral services for Rowe were Sunday. His mother and father were in court. They declined to comment.

Rowe was in a West Ninth Street crosswalk with his mother and sisters, headed to a park, when witnesses told police he was struck by a car that didn't stop. Police later identified Garcia as the driver after receiving a tip from a motorist who identified a suspect vehicle.

Garcia has been in jail ever since his arrest on the date of the crash and remains there on an immigration hold. His immigration status was unclear but the federal hold is an indication he might be in the country illegally and could be deported.

Garcia was a cook for the past year at Joey's Original Pizza in east Santa Rosa. He had gotten off work and was returning home at the time of the crash.

In 2010 Garcia was convicted of driving without a license. His car was impounded for 30 days after that traffic stop.

A week before the fatal collision he was stopped again and cited for driving without a license. His car was not impounded at that time.


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