Driver in fatal Fresno County hit-and-run to get year jail max, after judge reduces charges

Fresno County Sheriff
·2 min read

A Fresno County Superior Court judge has reduced the charges against the driver of Toyota Camry who hit and killed a woman along the shoulder of Highway 180 in the early morning hours of June 28, 2020.

Kenia Rodriguez, 32, of Firebaugh is no longer facing felony charges of driving under the influence and hit and run involving the death of 42-year-old Heather Martinez of Fresno.

Judge Michael Idiart changed the crimes to misdemeanors Thursday.

Rodriguez pleaded no contest to the new charges Thursday and will be sentenced on March 10. The maximum she can receive is one year in the Fresno County Jail, said her attorney David Jones.

As felonies, the charges would have carried a maximum punishment of three years in jail.

Jones said his client is relieved the case is coming to a close. “This is something that is still upsetting to her and still affects her,” Jones said. “It was a very tragic incident.”

Jones was grateful the judge took all of the facts into consideration when making his ruling Thursday. Idiart presided over Rodriguez’s preliminary hearing in October where witnesses provided a clearer picture of what happened that night.

Law enforcement officers testified that Rodriguez was on her way home from Table Mountain Casino at about 2:30 a.m. when she struck something near North Piedra Road in east Fresno County.

For an unknown reason, Martinez had stopped her car along the shoulder and was out of the vehicle when she was struck.

Witnesses testified that Rodriguez stopped at the scene and gave one of them a piece of paper with her name and phone number.

A California Highway Patrol officer also testified that someone at the scene told her that she didn’t need to stay because the crash was an accident.

Rodriguez left but was found a short distance away by a Fresno County Sheriff’s deputy. She was arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run resulting in permanent injury or death, driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Deputy District Attorney Bianca Aguayo argued during the preliminary hearing that while Rodriguez may have stopped briefly after she struck the victim, she failed to render any aid and provide enough information to police before leaving.