LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Police have arrested a man suspected of killing two horses and severely injuring their riders in a hit and run incident in Lakeview Friday night.
The suspect, 32-year-old Rolando Garcia, was booked for felony hit and run. Bail has been set at $50,000.
According to police, Garcia was traveling eastbound in a 1998 Chevrolet Astro Van on Foothill Boulevard near Wheatland Avenue when he hit the horseback riders and then collided into a wall.
He fled the scene and failed to render aid or provide identification.
A man who only wanted to be identified as Rodrigo, lives near the site of the crash and tells CBS2/KCAL 9’s Laurie Perez that he spoke to the driver moments after the collision: “He’s all like, like I didn’t see them, they didn’t have no lights on, I couldn’t see them, they didn’t have any lights on and we’re like what is he talking about? I said don’t worry, let’s get the paramedics out here for you and he goes don’t worry about me, what about the people on the floor?”
Both animals died at scene and the riders, identified as Alejandra Nieves and Leopoldo Solorio, remain hospitalized with multiple broken bones. They’re expected to recover. Friends say Nieves, who visited her beloved horse twice a day, has not been told that the pregnant mare she was riding was killed.
A “Go Fund Me” page has been set up to help the married couple.
The stretch of Foothill Boulevard is buys with cars and horses, even at night and locals say that makes for a dangerous combination.
“Put reflectors on the saddles, put em on your hat,” Rodrigo said, “so the cars can see you at night cause the lighting around here is really bad.”