The same seven-man, five-woman jury acquitted Angelo Arroyo Fabiani of child endangerment. The accident in which his Nissan truck went down an embankment on Interstate 5 and Rosecrans was determined not to be his fault, but the jury found he left the scene.
Motorists testified they saw Fabiani frantically breaking a window and reaching inside to detach his son from a child safety seat, but Valentino Fabiani fell about 10 feet onto the pavement on June 2, 2013.
Deputy District Attorney Marissa di Tillio said he faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
Fabiani, 41, had been free on a $500,000 property bond until mid-February, when the property went into escrow, and he was jailed when the property wasn’t available for the bond. His attorney, Allen Bloom, unsuccessfully asked that bail be set at $10,000.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan said Fabiani has had four DUI arrests, and the verdict was his second felony conviction.
“On his DUIs alone,” Brannigan said, “I think he’s a menace. He leaves the scene of an accident.” Brannigan added that public safety should be the primary concern as he allowed no bail. Fabiani will be sentenced April 17.
Fabiani testified March 19 that he thought his son was killed instantly and went into deep shock. He said he left his wallet, phone and keys in his truck and walked 18 miles to his Imperial Beach apartment. He said he broke inside and drank beer and tried to forget that his son died. He added he didn’t call anyone and doesn’t remember doing very much afterward.
The boy was later declared brain dead and died eight days after the accident when he was taken off life support.
A deputy medical examiner testified the boy’s injuries included a skull fracture and stemmed from the accident and the fall. It was suspected that Fabiani fled because he had been drinking and wanted to avoid an alcohol/blood test, but Bloom told reporters after the verdict that Fabiani was sober at the time of the crash.
“His brain just shut down,” said Bloom, who added that a road barrier on the freeway was to blame for the accident.
Bloom said Fabiani remains deeply depressed over the death of his son and a prison term “would be a worse ending” to his case.