For release on April 5, 2013
Deputy District Attorney
SAN JOSE MAN GETS 41 YEARS-TO-LIFE FOR FATAL PARK HIT-AND-RUN
A 50-year-old San Jose man was sentenced today to 41 years-to-life in prison for running over three elderly friends strolling in a park on a sunny day, killing two of them.
Armando Ochoa left the dying and injured men lying on the grass of Hillview Park, drove seven miles, pulled over, took a cab home and was arrested. A test showed that he was driving with three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood. Despite his defense that a brain cyst caused him to lose consciousness before and after the accident, the unemployed painter was convicted in January by a jury before the Hon. Diane Northway. He was convicted of two counts of murder with personal use of a weapon, and a count of felony assault resulting in great bodily injury. “This was not simply an accident. The defendant drove his SUV onto the sidewalk, steering directly at these three innocent men, slamming into them so hard that they flew 50 feet through the air,” Deputy District Attorney Dan Fehderau said. “Three families were forever traumatized by this man behind the wheel that day; the community is a safer place with him behind bars.”
It was the morning of Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008, and Ochoa was at end of a weekend of a binge drinking. Ochoa got in a road rage incident with another driver near Tully Road and King Street; playing chicken with the terrified motorist and almost causing a head-on collision. Ochoa then drove to the park and began trying to pick fights with a group of mystified soccer players. He got back into his Chevrolet Suburban and told them “I’m coming back to kill someone.” He then proceeded to drive around the park and drove onto the sidewalk. He struck three San Jose retirees head-on in full view of a horrified crowd of people in the park. Aproniano Siruno, 71, and Rudy Escurial, 67, were killed. Esteban Casiano, 73, survived with broken ribs. Ochoa sped away, drove to the Tamien light rail station, where he parked his now disabled vehicle. Taking a cab home, he saw police waiting in his driveway and told the cab driver to flee. Police immediately pulled them over. An investigation revealed Ochoa had multiple convictions for drunk driving, reckless driving, speeding and hit and run. ###