VISTA, Calif. — A man allegedly living in the United States illegally was behind bars Wednesday on suspicion of being drunk when his car hit and killed a toddler on a North County roadside.
Agustin Garcia Morales, 33, was arrested Monday, three days after the fatal accident on a driveway in front of his Encinitas Boulevard apartment, sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony O’Boyle said.
Garcia was on his way to work shortly before 7:30 a.m. Friday when his Toyota Camry hit 3-year-old Juan Ruiz of Encinitas as the boy walked with his mother, who was pushing his sibling in a stroller.
The child wound up pinned beneath the sedan. Garcia and a bystander pulled him out, and medics took him to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Deputies initially believed that Garcia, a Mexican national employed as a restaurant worker and part-time pet sitter, was not to blame for the accident, O’Boyle said. A test showed that he had alcohol in his system at the time of the accident, but since the amount was below the legal limit for driving, he was not cited or arrested, the sergeant said.
Investigators later concluded that Garcia was at fault for the fatality, meaning that any amount of alcohol in his system put him in line for a DUI charge as well as a count of vehicular manslaughter, O’Boyle said.
Garcia, who has prior drunken-driving convictions on his record, also was booked on suspicion of presenting authorities with a false driver’s license, identity theft and being in the country without proper documentation, according to O’Boyle.
The suspect was booked into county jail in Vista without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.