SAN DIEGO - A man accused of abandoning his 4-year-old son following a freeway crash near the Midway District, leaving the child bleeding on a roadside with injuries that proved fatal, was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges of child endangerment and hit-and-and-run with serious injury or death.
Angelo Fabiani, 40, also known as Angelo Fabiani Arroyo, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Following a daylong preliminary hearing, Judge Amalia Meza ruled that enough evidence was presented for the defendant to proceed to trial.
Fabiani -- out of custody on $500,000 bail -- will be back in court Oct. 1 for arraignment.
He was on probation for a drunken-driving conviction at the time of the June 2 crash on Interstate 5 near Rosecrans Street. His son, Valentino Fabiani Arroyo, was declared brain-dead at Rady Children's Hospital eight days later.
San Diego County Deputy Medical Examiner Jacquelyn Morhaine testified that the child suffered a skull fracture and brain injuries during the crash and subsequent fall to the concrete below.
Morhaine said the cause of death was blunt force injury to the head, saying the 8-foot fall could cause significant injury or death.
The boy was strapped in a child-safety seat in a 2004 Nissan Titan that veered off southbound Interstate 5 about 8 p.m. The truck, which was hauling a small water-craft trailer, careened down an ice plant-covered embankment, slammed into a palm tree, toppled onto its passenger side and came to rest perched atop a concrete retaining wall above Jefferson Street.
The defendant got out of the vehicle and tried in vain to pull out the child, according to witnesses. He then re-entered the damaged pickup and freed the youngster, but in doing so caused the child to fall about eight feet onto a concrete sidewalk below, according to prosecutors.
The defendant eluded capture for two days before being arrested in his hometown of Imperial Beach.
Defense attorney Hector Tamayo said his client tried to save his son by unbuckling the child's seatbelt and would have been hailed as a hero had he been successful.
"It didn't work," Tamayo said of his client's efforts.
But prosecutor Marisa Di Tillio said the defendant's decision to release the seatbelt was "not thought out" and caused the child to fall.