By Gabriel Monte A-J Media
A 40-year-old Lubbock man was placed on eight years probation Thursday morning after he admitted to driving the vehicle involved in a fatal hit-and-run wreck last year in southwest Lubbock.
Raul Elizondo pleaded guilty in the 364th District Court to a second-degree felony count of failure to stop and render aid in exchange for the probation term recommended by the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office. Second-degree felonies carry a punishment of two to 20 years in prison.
As part of a plea deal, Judge William Eichman agreed to dismiss a second-degree felony charge of manslaughter against the defendant.
Tom Brummett, the assistant district attorney who handled the case, could not be reached for comment.
Elizondo, who has been held at the Lubbock County jail since his Jan. 15, 2017, arrest, admitted to driving the white Chevrolet Tahoe that struck and killed Christopher Garcia in the Jan. 14, 2017, hit-and-run crash in the 5600 block of Vicksburg near Nat Williams Elementary school.
Lubbock police responded about 2:19 p.m. to the scene, where witnesses said a white Chevrolet Tahoe came barreling through and struck Garcia, who was thrown into the air and then run over, according to an arrest warrant. Garcia was taken to University Medical Center where he died the next day.
A woman at the scene told police Garcia and two other people, including a 15-year-old boy, arrived at Williams Elementary School to confront her 15-year-old son. The warrant indicates the group arrived in Garcia’s Buick.
The woman said the boys arranged by text to meet at the school to fight. She said Garcia told her to call the police and said he had a gun. She said she ran to her vehicle, called 911 and turned to see her son on the ground being assaulted. Investigators believe Garcia was watching the fight between the boys, the warrant states.
Elizondo’s ex-wife, who accompanied the boy’s mom to the school, told police said she called him before the fight to “help diffuse the situation.”
Jeff Nicholson, Elizondo’s attorney, said he believes the call wasn’t clear and his client drove as fast as he could to the school believing his own sons were in danger.
“He went there for all the right reasons, which was to try to keep some kids from getting hurt and it blew up in his face,” he said. “He didn’t go there drunk. He didn’t go there with a gun. He didn’t go there trying to hurt anybody. My client went there because he was under the impression that his children were in danger.”
He said as Elizondo turned the corner and sped toward the fray, Garcia stepped out from between two cars and was struck by the SUV.
“My client hit him and then he panicked and left,” he said.
Later in the afternoon, police were able to locate the SUV at the Family Dollar in the 4400 block of 34th Street, where it had “a dent in the hood and blood still present,” according to a police report.
Shortly after investigators identified Elizondo as the driver. Elizondo reportedly admitted to police he struck Garcia, saying he was driving “a little fast.”
Nicholson said his client was sorry for what happened.
“My client was in jail for a year, very patient, and he let the investigation play itself out and I am very pleased with the work that I was able to do with the district attorney’s office and they’re to be commended for the work they did in looking into this thing, and doing the right thing,” he said.
Source : http://www.lubbockonline.com/news/20180222/man-gets-probation-for-fatal-hit-and-rush-crash-during-fight-near-lubbock-school