A driver who hit and killed a 56-year-old man and his dog in north Santa Maria earlier this year has pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter.
Alvino Corona, 19, of Santa Maria, could receive up to 11 years in state prison or five years of formal probation when he is sentenced May 16 by Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown, the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Friday.
Frank Diaz Jr. was walking with his dog on North Blosser Road on Feb. 5 while Corona was traveling southbound between 79 and 86 mph in a 45-mph zone, authorities said.
There are no sidewalks in that area and it was unclear if the victims were in the roadway or on the side, Santa Maria police said at the time of the collision.
Both Diaz and his dog were dead at the scene, and Corona and his passenger — his wife — abandoned the vehicle at the scene and fled on foot.
Corona was arrested when he returned to the scene about an hour later. His wife was not arrested.
Corona also admitted special allegations of fleeing the scene of a crime after committing gross vehicular manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an injury accident, as well as being an unlicensed driver and having no proof of insurance, the District Attorney’s Office said.
He also pleaded to a misdemeanor count of fleeing the scene of an accident where Diaz’s dog, Billy, was killed.