Driver pleads not guilty in fatal Paradise Hills hit-run crash

SAN DIEGO -- A man already in jail for violating his parole pleaded not guilty Monday in connection with a fatal hit and run crash.

James Robbins, 47, who was in jail since February 15 for violating his parole in a prior robbery conviction, pleaded not guilty in connection to a January deadly hit and run crash in Paradise Hills. He now faces an additional felony charge in the death of 49-year-old Jose Padron.

Prosecutors said during a strong winter storm on January 19, Padron was getting an umbrella out of his car that was parked on Albemarle Street near Rancho Drive when he was hit by a Lexus sedan driven by Robbins.

“It was obviously very loud and a bunch of people ran outside and then found the victim basically deceased at that time and laying in the street,” said Deputy District Attorney David McNees.

According to prosecutors, a woman who lent Robbins the Lexus called police. After a two-month investigation police arrested Robbins. He was not taken into custody until February 15.

“He went on the run for approximately about a month, a couple weeks to a month,” said McNees.

Robbins is being held on $300,000 bail and faces double the time in jail for a second strike, and that would result in 8 years in prison if he’s convicted.

San Diego police say nearby home security cameras also captured the car pulling over following the crash then driving away from the scene.

Robbins is expected to return to court on April 6.