A 22-year-old man was hit with three felony charges on Thursday in connection with a pursuit he led deputies on late last month that resulted in one man’s death, a second crash, damage to several parked cars and a brush fire, officials said.
Venice resident Kevin James Hicks was already convicted earlier this year of grand theft auto in a separate case in Kern County, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Hicks was charged with vehicular manslaughter in connection with the death of a 28-year-old Juan Castillo, who was taking trash out of a home along the Pacific Coast Highway when he was struck by the stolen Mazda 6 Hicks was driving on Nov. 29, prosecutors said.
Hicks also faces charges of fleeing a pursuing a peace officer’s motor vehicle causing death and driving or taking a vehicle without consent with a prior, along with one misdemeanor count of driving when the privilege was suspended or revoked.
Officers first noticed the stolen car near Zuma Beach, and the vehicle did pull over near Ramirez Mesa Drive to let out a female passenger before the driver sped away. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies pursued the vehicle for about another 20 seconds before determining the chase was too dangerous to continue due to Hicks’ erratic driving, deputies previously told KTLA.
Soon after, Hicks allegedly crashed into Castillo in the 27500 block of Pacific Coast Highway, then skidded further into three parked cars. That caused a collision with a truck on the highway, officials said.
When deputies arrived at the scene, the Mazda had already erupted into flames. Officials pulled Hicks from the burning car.
The flames had also ignited a brush fire along the highway, but it was quickly put out.
The female passenger had also been taken into custody as a witness, officials said.
Hicks was being held on $180,000 bail and scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in the Van Nuys branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
He could face a maximum possible sentence of 12 years and 10 months in state prison if convicted as charged, officials said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials are continuing to investigate the case.