Driver gets jail time for hit-and-run with man who stopped to help stranded motorist

SAN DIEGO — An unlicensed and uninsured motorist, who fled the scene after hitting a motorist who stopped to help two people stranded in a broken-down car in Ocean Beach, was sentenced Friday to a year in local custody.

Jaron Blake Hillyer, 27, pleaded guilty last month to felony hit-and-run causing injury.

Judge Eugenia Eyherabide placed Hillyer on three years probation and told the defendant he could serve his time in a work furlough-residential re-entry program in hopes that he will get a job and start making restitution to the victim, Julio Vasquez.

Vasquez, 26, told the court that since the accident, he has trouble breathing due to a punctured lung and his broken leg will never be the same.

“People call it an accident, I call it a tragedy,” Vasquez said. “I thought I was gonna die.”

Vasquez said he is now working two jobs to try and make ends meet for his wife and two young children.

“I lost everything,” the victim told the judge. “I lost a lot.”

Police said Hillyer left the scene after his Subaru station wagon struck Vasquez in the 2900 block of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard about midnight on April 9.

Acting on a tip from the public, investigators found Hillyer’s Outback Legacy in the 4300 block of Orchard Avenue, about a mile south of the site of the crash. On May 7, the defendant turned himself in and was booked into jail, then posted $50,000 bail.

Defense attorney Greg Turner said Hillyer made an “awful decision” to leave the scene of the accident, calling his client’s actions “inexcusable.”

Turner said, however, that Hillyer surrendered to police once he was identified as the driver who hit Vasquez.

For his part, Hillyer apologized to the victim for everything.

“I’m very sorry to the victim,” Hillyer said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. I’m truly sorry.”