Appellate Court Hearing Set for Man Convicted of 13-Month-Old Girl's Death
LOS ANGELES - A hit-and-run driver who was drunk when he fatally struck a 13-month-old girl being pulled across a Long Beach street in wagon with her brother is scheduled to have his case reviewed by an appeals court panel.
Neely Dinkins was driving a Dodge Durango when he fatally struck Kaylee Alavarez in a marked crosswalk at Redondo Avenue and 10th Street on Sept. 11, 2009.
A three-justice panel from the state's 2nd District Court of Appeal is set to hear oral arguments Tuesday afternoon.
Dinkins was convicted in February 2011 of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury, driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of more than 0.08 percent with injury and leaving the scene of an accident.
Kaylee's 2-year-old brother, Oscar, was seriously hurt in the accident. Their father was pulling them in a red plastic Radio Flyer wagon.
The wagon wedged under the SUV, which dragged it about a half block. A bystander grabbed Oscar, and Dinkins kept going, dragging the girl about a mile to a girlfriend's home.
Dinkins was arrested nearby and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.20 percent -- 2 1/2 times the legal limit -- about an hour after the crash.
"This ruined my life," the girl's father, Alexi Alvarez, said at Dinkins' March 2011 sentencing hearing. He said his
"I always say, `Why us?' We're not bad people," the father said.
Dinkins is serving a 36 years to life in prison.