Driver who killed toddler sentenced

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agustinVISTA — A motorist who struck and killed a 3-year-old boy who was walking with his mother on a North County road was sentenced Thursday to a year in jail.

Agustin Garcia Morales, 33, previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

Morales was arrested Nov. 4, three days after the fatal accident on a driveway in front of his Encinitas Boulevard apartment, sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony O’Boyle said.

Deputy District Attorney Stephen Marquardt said police on the scene asked Morales to submit to a preliminary alcohol-screening test, which turned out to be lower than the legal blood-alcohol limit of .08 percent.

Police didn’t do any further tests, and the defendant wasn’t charged with any alcohol-related counts.

The prosecutor said Morales was driving negligently at the time of the accident, but not recklessly or under the influence.

Morales was on his way to work shortly before 7:30 a.m. Nov. 1 when his Toyota Camry hit 3-year-old Juan Andres 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. Morales and a bystander pulled him out, and medics took the child to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Morales’ attorney, Peter Liss, said that his client, who works as a dog trainer, was distraught and did everything humanly possible to try to save the child’s life.


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