Convicted drunken driver in fatal Santa Ana hit-and-run sentenced to three years in prison


SANTA ANA — A 38-year-old convicted drunken driver has been sentenced to three years in prison for an alcohol-fueled hit-and-run collision that killed a homeless woman, according to court records obtained Monday.

Alberto Solano Diaz of Santa Ana made an open plea of guilty May 15 to a felony count of hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury and one misdemeanor count each of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and driving under the influence of alcohol, according to court records. The open plea meant there was no guarantee what his punishment would be.

Diaz was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison and was given credit for 86 days in custody.

Albert Solano Diaz, 38, of Santa Ana was arrested Wednesday, April 24 on suspicion of driving under the influence and hit and run after striking a woman with his car. He was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday, June 7. (Photo Courtesy of the Santa Ana Police Department)

An officer on patrol just after midnight April 24 saw the victim lying in the street on Standard Avenue, just north of Edinger Avenue, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

Investigators could not determine whether 40-year-old Leticia Marquez, who was in a crosswalk, was crossing against a red light at the time she was struck, he said.

Marquez was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

A couple of blocks away from where the victim was found, police came across an unoccupied car that had major front-end damage. Bertagna said officers spotted Diaz, who exhibited signs of intoxication, walking away from the car and detained him.

Diaz pleaded guilty on Nov. 4, 2009, to misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 and driving without a valid driver’s license. He was placed on three years of informal probation and ordered to pay $440 in fines and participate in a first-offender alcohol program for three months, according to court records.

Since then, he has had his probation revoked due to failure to pay the fines, court records show.