A hit-and-run drunk driver struck and killed a 2-year-old boy who was crossing the street in Santa Ana last Wednesday.
A mother was crossing Fifth St. at North Bewley St. at about 6:20 p.m. The mother was holding her 1-year-old daughter in her arms and holding her 2-year-old son's hand. An SUV pulled out of the parking lot of a nearby bar at a high rate of speed. The SUV struck the boy, who was pulled under the SUV. The mother and 1-year-old went up onto the vehicle's hood, then were knocked to the ground.
The boy was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The mother was treated for minor injuries, and her daughter was not injured.
The SUV driver fled the scene, but witnesses were able to get its license plate number. The vehicle was tracked to a mobile home park about a mile from the scene.
According to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, police arrested Angel Alberto Cruz Perez, age 23, after he failed a field sobriety test. Perez admitted that he was driving the SUV.
Perez was charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and hit-and-run with permanent injury or death. He was also charged with driving without a license.
According to Orange County prosecutors, Perez and a friend consumed four buckets of beer, each containing six bottles, at a restaurant immediately before the accident.