CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A driver accused of fatally striking an 81-year-old pedestrian in National City and fleeing the scene pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony hit-and-run causing death and a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license.
Alejandro Hernandez Lomas, 44, of San Diego, appeared in court with a patch over one eye and was using an oxygen tank.
South Bay Judge Katherine Bacal ordered Lomas held on $100,000 bail.
The defendant surrendered to authorities about noon Sunday, roughly 17-and-a-half hours after the crash that took the life of Elena Huerta of National City, according to National City police.
Shortly before 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Huerta was hit as she attempted to cross Highland Avenue near East 19th Street, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.
She was struck by a brown or maroon, possibly two-tone, 1995 to 2005 model GMC Safari or Chevy Astrovan, driven by a Hispanic man in his 40s, police said.
The van's driver did not stop and sped away from the injured woman, who was thrown into the roadway on impact, the M.E.'s Office reported.
Witnesses called for help and responding paramedics took Huerta to UC San Diego Medical Center, where she died from her injuries shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, according to the M.E.'s Office.
Lomas faces four years and two months if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Ryan Karkenny.
The defendant will be back in court Jan. 17 for a readiness conference and Jan. 23 for a preliminary hearing.