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 daughter had "barely started walking."
"I always say, `Why us?' We're not bad people," the father said.
Dinkins is serving a 36 years to life in prison.