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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Defendant Sentenced for Flight from Fatal Highway 101 Crash

Santa Rosa, CA  –  June 27, 2019  –  Defendant Gregory Hernandez was sentenced earlier today to serve three years in state prison for fleeing the scene of a fatal traffic collision on November 15, 2017. This sentence stemmed from a guilty verdict handed down by a Sonoma County jury on May 9, 2019.

The conviction of hit and run causing death resulted from Hernandez’s flight from a three car pileup which occurred in the late hours of November 15, 2017 in Santa Rosa, CA. On that rainy evening, two women were driving southbound on 101 when they lost control of their Mercedes and crashed into the center median. Disabled in the number two lane, both driver and passenger stood near their vehicle waiting for help to arrive. As Hernandez approached the disabled Mercedes in his Honda Civic, he was unable to avoid the car and struck it. The force of the collision pushed the Mercedes into the two women, knocking both of them to the ground.

Eyewitness testimony at trial established that both women could be heard moaning in distress immediately after being knocked to the ground. Soon after, a third car rear-ended Hernandez’s vehicle and pushed it back into the Mercedes. The second impact drove the Mercedes on top of the Mercedes passenger and pinned her under the car. Meanwhile, the Mercedes driver lay on the highway struggling and pleading for help, unable to stand due to multiple broken bones. 

After being hit by the third car, Hernandez got out of his Honda, lit a cigarette, walked up to the Mercedes driver who lay begging for help, turned, and left. While multiple “good samaritans” assisted rescuers in lifting the Mercedes off the critically injured Mercedes passenger, Hernandez was found over a quarter mile from the scene. A records check showed Hernandez’s driver’s license had been suspended for years, and that he had sustained numerous convictions for driving on a suspended license, including three convictions in 2017 alone. When confronted, Hernandez admitted to his flight claiming that he was “freaking out” because of his suspended license and the danger of the crash. Tragically, the Mercedes passenger passed away less than a week later due to her injuries.

After listening to multiple victim impact statements from the decedent’s family, the Honorable Christopher Honigsberg expressed his shock at the defendant’s actions, which ran contrary to “basic human decency.” He criticized the defendant’s version of the facts, and called Hernandez’s testimony at trial “uncredible” based on both the evidence and common sense. Citing to the defendant’s demeanor, his extensive record of traffic violations, and facts of the case, Judge Honigsberg sentenced the defendant to serve 3 years in the California Department of Corrections. 

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Brian Morimune who was assisted by Victim Witness Advocate Felix Wade. Deputy Alex Read of the California Highway Patrol headed the investigation.

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Contact Information

Joan Croft
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
Contact us by Phone
Address
600 Administration Drive
Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.466524, -122.726273