A 32-year-old man was convicted on Thursday of driving with a suspended license and causing another driver severe brain and spinal injuries in a hit and run crash that occurred in Garden Grove on Dec. 11, 2011 at 5 a.m.
According to the Orange County District Attorney, Oscar Paz of Huntington Beach was driving at a high rate of speed in his Volkswagen Jetta in the slow lane on the Garden Grove Freeway, approaching Magnolia Street in Garden Grove.
At the time, Paz’s license was suspended for failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket. That morning, Paz rear-ended a Nissan driven by the 66-year-old victim, Gopal Krishnan. The crash caused the victim’s vehicle to be pushed across all freeway lanes and into the center divider. Without stopping to assist Krishnan or offer any kind of help, Paz left the freeway and parked his car in a nearby strip mall. Paz then fled on foot and called his girlfriend for a ride home.
The California Highway Patrol, which investigated the case, found Paz’s car when officers arrived at the scene. The victim was quickly taken to University of California, Irvine Medical Center in Orange, where he was in a coma in critical condition for several weeks. Krishnan sustained severe spinal and brain injuries of which he is still unable to walk or speak. Two days after this incident, Paz turned himself in to the CHP Westminster office.
Paz was tried at the North Justice Center in Fullerton and was found guilty by a jury on one felony count of hit and run with permanent injury. His sentencing will begin on Sept. 21 at 8:30 a.m., where Paz faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.