CARMICHAEL, CA - The man suspected of a deadly hit and run crash on Winding Way back in March will make his first court appearance Tuesday.
Steve Hernandez, 38, of Sacramento was arrested Sunday afternoon during a stolen car investigation. He also had an outstanding warrant for another hit and run traffic collision that happened in 2010 in North Sacramento.
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Police believe Hernandez was behind the wheel in the March 22 crash that killed 57-year-old Paul Pellandini in front of his home and badly injured his visiting friend Bill Collins.
Collins and Pellandini were talking next to Collin's car. The California Highway Patrol said Hernandez's SUV was heading west on Winding Way, veered onto the shoulder and hit both men.
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Both of them were thrown into the air and landed on the shoulder. Pellandini's wife heard the crash and called 911. Pellandini died on the scene. Collins had major injuries, including a broken pelvis, leg, and several ribs.
"My life is pretty much ruined. I will heal. But Paul will never be back," said Collins. "There's no reason why Paul should be dead."
Collins has half a million dollars worth of medical bills because of the hit and run crash. He's struggling to pay them and is worried about keeping his house because he is unemployed and doesn't have health insurance.
Collins' family has set up a Facebook page asking for community support. You'll find it at www.facebook.com/billcollinsfund or at www.billcollinsfund.com
Collins said he's frustrated it took law enforcement so long to make an arrest.
"The problem they kept telling me was they knew who was driving the truck. But they couldn't do anything about it," said Collins.
Officer Liz Dutton said investigators had identified Hernandez as a suspect earlier, but didn't catch up to him until Sacramento police officers located and arrested him in connection with a stolen car and the 2010 hit and run case.
In the mean time, Collins is relieved the suspect is off the streets.
"If he'd done it twice, I'm sure three times is coming up sooner or later," said Collins. "I just hope it all comes out. He needs to pay for what happened. You have to pay for what you do in this life."