The driver who struck and killed San Marcos High School student Sergio Romero has been charged with vehicular manslaughter by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

Sergio Romero

Sergio Romero

Fifteen-year-old Romero was walking across Ortega and Milpas streets on Oct. 7 when he was struck by Manuel Flores Jr.

Flores, 19, has also been charged with speeding and violating a pedestrian’s right of way.

The night he was struck, Romero was leaving band practice at Jasmine’s Alternative Music School, where he and friends were rehearsing for a performance at the California Avocado Festival.

When one friend didn’t have a way to get home, Romero offered to let him use his bus pass, and the pair crossed Milpas Street to the adjacent bus stop. After seeing his friend get on the bus, Romero was walking back to the opposite side of the street to wait for his father to pick him up when he was struck by a southbound vehicle.

At a community forum Nov. 2, Santa Barbara police Sgt. Mike McGrew said Flores was driving at “a minimum of 49 miles an hour” when he struck Romero.

The accident prompted more scrutiny into Milpas corridor pedestrian safety issues, and several public meetings have been held since Romero’s death.

Guadalupe Romero, Sergio’s mother, has implored city traffic engineers and one police investigator to make the changes needed to prevent more deaths.

At one of these meetings, through a translator, she said she doesn’t want her son’s death to go to waste, and she doesn’t want any other family to go through what she and her family are going through now.

Romero’s parents have filed a wrongful death civil suit against Flores, alleging negligence. The suit alleges that Flores was driving the truck as part of his job, so it also lists the California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation Inc. and Scolari’s Food and Drug Company as defendants.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.