UPDATE: Murder Charges Sought for Fatal Hit and Run
On the afternoon of September 30, 2012, officers responded to a fatal broadside traffic collision in the intersection of State Street and Florida Avenue, in downtown Hemet. The driver of the at-fault vehicle fled the scene on foot. Alert citizens saw the man leave and began searching the area, along with other officers that weren’t already engaged in life-saving measures.
A citizen located the driver hiding in the 100 block of North Juanita Street, which is three blocks away from the traffic collision site. The citizen called 9-1-1, directing police to the man. Police arrested the man, who identified himself with valid government ID as 35 year old Hemet resident, Sergio Garcia, determining that he was also suspected of driving drunk at the time of the collision. He was arrested at that time for vehicular manslaughter while DUI and Hit & Run with Injury. His bail was initially set at $75,000.
Since the arrest, fingerprint results have shown that the man has been known by at least five different names, and is believed to be 36 years old and have a birth name of Sergio Solano Morales. Morales has three prior DUI convictions, all under different names but sharing common fingerprints. It appears Morales may have assumed different identities after each conviction.
Based upon the unique circumstances in this case, the multiple prior arrests, and the appearance of assumed identities, the Hemet Police Department consulted with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office on October 3rd. The DA’s Office chose to file murder charges against Morales. Hemet Police investigators successfully petitioned the court to raise Morales’ bail from $75,000 to $1,000,000.
Once again, the Hemet Police Department would like to thank the citizens who reacted during this terrible event and helped to locate Morales.