Driver who injured 9 in a California sidewalk crash guilty of hit-and-run but not DUI

Feb 15, 2024, 6:32 PM

FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) — A driver who plowed into a crowd on a Southern California sidewalk in 2019, injuring nine people, was convicted Thursday of hit-and-run crimes, but jurors deadlocked on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs.

A mistrial was declared over the DUI charge in the trial of 27-year-old Christopher Solis, the Orange County Register reported. Solis said he was relieved by the mistrial decision, the paper reported.

“I have a wife. I have a kid. I was scared,” he said, adding: “This whole thing has been emotional. I think about the victims every day.”

The Anaheim man was behind the wheel of a Toyota Tacoma in February 2019 when the pickup truck jumped a curb in Fullerton, struck people and then crashed into a palm tree. Bars had just let out and there were hundreds of people on the sidewalks, the Register said.

Several victims were trapped under the truck until bystanders lifted the pickup and pulled them free. Some were hospitalized with critical injuries.

Solis was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Authorities said he had marijuana and another drug in his system. But the defense argued the crash was an accident.

Defense attorney Alan Spears said Solis was trying to escape from some people who were chasing him and tried to go around some illegally parked vehicles when one hit his truck, causing Solis to lose control and veer onto the sidewalk, the Register reported.

Jurors convicted him of hit-and-run causing injuries, hit-and-run causing property damage and being in possession of a drug.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office didn’t immediately indicate whether it would retry Solis on the DUI charge.

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Driver who injured 9 in a California sidewalk crash guilty of hit-and-run but not DUI