May 26, 2023

North Carolina: Toddler hit, killed riding tricycle

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A man is headed to prison for driving drunk and hitting and killing a toddler while she rode her tricycle in front of her home, according to a district attorney in North Carolina.

Aaron Santos-Pinzon, 32, a Mexican citizen living in Flat Rock, North Carolina, was sentenced in court on Friday on a felony death by vehicle charge and felony hit and run causing death charge.

Santos-Pinzon received the maximum aggravated sentence possible for each charge.

According to court records and Friday's sentencing hearing, on Aug. 21, 2021, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said it responded to a report of a small child being struck by a vehicle and severely injured in the cul-de-sac on Pleasant Court in Flat Rock.

The records showed a 3-year-old was riding her tricycle in the cul-de-sac in front of her house when an individual driving a SUV backed out of a neighboring driveway and hit and killed the toddler.

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The driver of the SUV, later identified as Santos-Pinzon, left the scene and was found by a trooper shortly after an alert was put out to law enforcement, authorities said.

Santos-Pinzon blew a .10 on the breathalyzer test, authorities said.

The legal limit to drive in North Carolina is .08.

The DA's office said Santos-Pinzon was determined to be a citizen of Mexico and an illegal resident of the United States.

Santos-Pinzon remained in the custody of the Henderson County Sheriff until receiving his prison sentence.

He will be extradited to Mexico when he is done finishing his sentence, the DA's office said.