Jaron Blake Hillyer, 27, will report to jail July 25 and will be eligible for work furlough if he finds a job that qualifies him to be in that program under terms of three years probation.
The victim, Julio Vasquez, addressed San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide while on crutches and said he “saw some people who needed help” in the April 9 incident in the 2900 block of Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
“Mr. Vasquez, you are a hero. Here is a Good Samaritan, stopping to help others,” said the judge. “You are a great example to all of us.”
Vasquez suffered a broken leg, had a punctured lung, and still experiences pain everyday. He told the judge he lost his house in Ocean Beach and job as a result of his injuries.
Julio Vasquez was driving with his wife and children around midnight when he saw a couple whose vehicle broke down. He got out to help and was standing near the disabled car when he was hit by Hillyer’s vehicle at 12:06 a.m.
Hillyer did not stop and kept going, parking his damaged Subaru with a smashed windshield in front of his residence on Orchard Avenue in Ocean Beach. His attorney, Greg Turner, said he made no attempt to hide the vehicle before his May 7 arrest.
Hillyer pleaded guilty to felony hit and run. Turner attributed panic as the reason why his client left the scene of an accident. The conviction may cause Hillyer great difficulty in ever regaining his driver’s license.
There are no charges that allege he was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs because his blood could not be tested as almost a month passed before he was arrested.
“We don’t know if he was under the influence of anything,” said Deputy District Attorney Kristie Nikoletich.
Hillyer was ordered to pay restitution to Vasquez, though no amount was specified. If he does qualify for work furlough, he would be free to go to work in the daytime, but will be locked up at nights and on weekends for a year.
“He was unlicensed and uninsured. He should never have been (driving) a car,” said Nikoletich.
A gofundme.com account has been re-opened online to help Julio Vasquez and his family.
He previously worked as an auto detailer and now is a manager of a car wash. “I’ve worked my whole life,” said Vasquez.
“There are no words that Mr. Hillyer can provide that can undo the damage,” said Turner. “It has changed his life forever.”
Hillyer turned around and faced Vasquez who was in the audience. “I wish him the best in his recovery,” said Hillyer, after apologizing to him.
The victim’s brother, Joaquin Vasquez, told the judge “I don’t see how he didn’t know what he hit.” The brother told Eyherabide “he’ll never be able to work like normal again.”
Hillyer received credit for four days already served in jail and the judge suspended all fines and fees so Hillyer can pay restitution to Julio Vasquez.