Victor Garcia Hernandez as shown in a police mug shot.
WOODBURN, Ore. -- A man who struck and killed a toddler in Woodburn and then drove off reportedly stopped first and got out of the car, and even made a phone call before leaving the scene, according to an eyewitness.
Two-year-old Gabriel Rosas-Vargas was killed Monday afternoon after running into a Woodburn street and being struck by a pickup. Later that night, police arrested 23-year-old Victor Garcia Hernandez. Hernandez was arraigned Tuesday on charges including DUI and hit-and-run. They said additional, more serious charges were likely.
Video: Boy ran into street
In a probable cause statement obtained by KGW, a woman claimed she saw Hernandez hit the child.
Lisa Itel told the court she observed the toddler as he was struck by the pickup truck. Hernandez got out
of his vehicle and approached
the toddler, who was lying
in the street, Itel said.
there for a while, talked
on his cell phone
and then got
in his car
and left the area," Itel said.
The witness statement contradicted claims by Hernandez that he did not know he'd hit the child.
The toddler was with his family at a store near the intersection of Front and Harrison streets around 4 p.m. Monday when he ran
into the street and was hit
by a white GMC truck, which drove
away from the scene after the impact, according to police reports.
Prosecutors say Hernandez was under the influence
at the time of the incident, and that Hernandez had used cocaine on Sunday night. They also said he had been stopped twice before for driving under the influence of illicit substances. He was charged with DUI on New Year's Day 2006, when he was 21, but was released after a 2008 traffic stop. No charges were filed after the second stop.
The defendant's license was suspended after the 2006 arrest and then reinstated May 1 of that year. He entered a guilty plea and also completed a year-long diversion program that included alcohol treatment.
Hernandez was being held on a $500,000 bail.
A Woodburn mother said the accident was terrifying.
"It brought tears to my eyes. I have four little boys and I don't know what I would do, at all. It's just very sad," Amy Madrigal said.
Madrigal didn't know the 2-year-old victim but said she felt compelled to do something to pull the community together after this tragedy. She placed flowers at the roadside with the help of her young son.
Hernandez's truck was later found on Highway 99E near Industrial Avenue in Hubbard.