VAN NUYS : No Felony Charges to Be Filed in Crash That Injured 9
No felony charges will be filed against a man Los Angeles police sought to blame for a car crash that injured nine people, a deputy district attorney decided Monday.
Jose Fernandez, one of two drivers involved in the Dec. 26 accident, could still face misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence if the city attorney’s office decides to prosecute him. If prosecuted for a misdemeanor, the Van Nuys resident could face a maximum of six months in prison. A felony conviction could have resulted in a maximum sentence of six years.
Police say Fernandez’s Chevy Blazer collided with Edward Harding’s Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon at the intersection of Sherman Way and Louise Avenue. There were six passengers in the Blazer, four of them children, and only one was wearing a seat belt, police said. Two children were hurled out of the car.
“It seems to be a miscarriage of justice,” said Detective Rick Talkington, who oversaw the police investigation.
But Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Diamond said there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Fernandez, 31, displayed negligence that led to the accident. Without that, Diamond said, he could not win a felony conviction.
“We don’t think that we can prove that Fernandez ran the red light,” Diamond said, “although we have a very strong suspicion he did.”