ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
Case # 14NF5122
Date: December 19, 2014
SANTA ANA – A driver was in court today for killing a bicyclist and fleeing to Mexico to repair his vehicle. Junior Rigoberto Lopez, 30, Buena Park, is charged with one felony count of hit and run with permanent injury or death. If convicted, Lopez faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison. Lopez is being held on $500,000 bail. The scheduled arraignment was continued in court today to Jan. 16, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
At approximately 9:00 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2014, Lopez is accused driving his pick-up truck and traveling northbound on Magnolia Street in Anaheim. He is accused of approaching the intersection of Magnolia Street and La Palma Avenue and crashing into 44-year-old Daniella Palacios while the victim was riding her bicycle. Instead of stopping to assist the victim or calling 911, Lopez is accused of failing to remain at the scene or rendering any aid and fleeing the scene. The defendant is accused of sustaining damage to his pick-up truck consistent with colliding with a person riding a bicycle.
The victim was transported to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center to be treated for broken ribs, a broken right clavicle, head trauma, left lung filled with blood, and internal bleeding. The victim died hours later at the hospital while being treated for her injuries sustained in the crash.
After the crash, the defendant is accused of driving to Mexico to have his pick-up truck repaired. On Dec. 11, 2014, the defendant is accused of returning to Mexico to retrieve his repaired truck.
The Anaheim Police Department, who investigated this case, arrested the defendant on Dec. 18, 2014.
Deputy District Attorney Stephen Cornwell of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff