A Lakewood man accused of driving drunk with two children in his SUV when he struck and killed a man in a wheelchair in Long Beach denied a series of charges related to the crash on Thursday, authorities said.
Jesus Jorge Arias, 37, pleaded not guilty to charges of drunken driving causing injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08% or higher causing injury, hit-and-run resulting in death and two counts of child abuse, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.
The case stems from a March 28 collision in a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
“Arias allegedly ran over victim Kyle Dean McNeley, 29, near the corner of Bellflower Boulevard and Harvey Way,” according to the statement. “The defendant is charged with having his 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter in the car when the crash happened.”
Arias tried to flee the scene but was detained with the help of good Samaritans, prosecutors said.
Paramedics took McNeley to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, officials said. An autopsy determined he died from “multiple traumatic injuries,” and investigators ruled the death accidental, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
Arias could face more than eight years in state prison if convicted as charged.