Trial begins for man accused of injuring driver

The trial of a Huntington Beach man accused of driving while using a suspended license and injuring another driver began Wednesday at the North Justice Center in Fullerton, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Oscar Paz, 32, was allegedly speeding on the Garden Grove (22) Freeway in his Volkswagen Jetta on Dec. 11 when he rear-ended a Nissan Pulsar driven by a 66-year-old man, prosecutors said.

The collision caused the victim's vehicle to thrust across the freeway, hitting the center divider. Paz allegedly exited the freeway, parked his car in a strip mall and fled on foot, prosecutors said. He then called his girlfriend to pick him up.

Paz turned himself in two days later to the California Highway Patrol's Westminster office, which investigated the accident and had found his car at the mall, prosecutors said. Paz had gotten his license suspended for not showing up in court for a speeding ticket.

The victim was in critical condition for several weeks at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, prosecutors said. He sustained brain and spinal injuries, can't walk or talk, and is in continuous pain, prosecutors said.

Paz is charged with one felony count of hit-and-run causing permanent injury. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in jail if convicted, prosecutors said.

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