NBC 7 San Diego
Nanny Monserrat Mendez (L) was killed on Feb. 1 after driver Christine Padilla (R) ran a red light at an intersection in Santaluz. Mendez was crossing the street while pushing toddler Bryan Fomon in a stroller. The boy was critically injured, but survived the crash.
On Feb. 1, 2013, Del Sur resident Christine Padilla ran a red light at the intersection of Camino Del Sur and Via Verrazzano in Santaluz. Padilla’s SUV fatally struck nanny Monserrat Mendez, 41, who was crossing the intersection while pushing a stroller carrying her charge, then-14-month-old Bryan Fomon.
Mendez was killed in the crash, while Fomon sustained severe injuries. Padilla had just given birth one day before the accident and told police she was sleep-deprived. A lengthy investigation into the crash and court proceedings ensued. Here’s a breakdown of what has happened in this case, and what is yet to come.
• Friday, February 1, 2013: At around noon, driver Christine Padilla runs a red light at the intersection of Camino Del Sur and Via Verrazzano in Santaluz. Her SUV strikes nanny Monserrat Mendez, 41, and toddler Bryan Fomon. Mendez was pushing the toddler in a stroller at the time of the crash. Both Mendez and the boy are taken to local hospitals, but Mendez does not survive her injuries. The boy is admitted into the Intensive Care Unit with critical injuries, including a shattered spleen, pelvic fracture, broken rib and skull fracture.
• February 2, 2013: A female bicyclist who came across the horrific Santaluz accident scene speaks exclusively to NBC 7 about how she pulled toddler Bryan Fomon out of his stroller, which was tightly wedged under the bumper of Padilla’s SUV following the deadly crash.
• February 5, 2013: The Padilla family releases a statement to NBC 7 regarding the crash, saying, in part: “[We] wish to express that our hearts are broken by the horrific circumstances of this accident. The profound sorrow that we feel pales in comparison to the suffering of Ms. Mendez's family as well as young Bryan and his family.” At this point, Padilla has not yet been cited in the crash due to the pending investigation.
• February 8, 2013: Toddler Bryan Fomon is released from the hospital, his parents tell NBC 7. After being weaned off heavy pain medication, his mother, Allie Fomon, told NBC 7 her son’s test results showed no bleeding, swelling or tearing in his brain. The positive signs came after a "touch and go" first few days in the hospital, with uncertainty over the potential injuries and trauma as a result of the impact. “We are thrilled to have him home, where he can heal from his wounds in a familiar environment,” his mother tells NBC 7.
• March 4, 2013: After a month-long investigation by San Diego police, charges are officially filed against Padilla in the fatal crash. Charges include vehicular manslaughter, failure to stop at a red light and failure to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk.
• March 15, 2013: Padilla enters a not guilty plea in connection with her role in the crash. At this point, she faced up to a year in jail, if convicted.
• March 22, 2013: An attorney for the family of nanny Monserrat Mendez – including her two surviving teenage children, ages 14 and 16 -- files a civil lawsuit against Christine Padilla and her husband, Jeffrey Padilla. The civil suit alleges that Christine Padilla was negligent and reckless when she ran a red light and struck Mendez and the toddler. It also targets Jeffrey Padilla for allowing his wife to drive one day after she gave birth. A police report from the collision reveals that Padilla told police she was sleep-deprived from giving birth, telling officers at the scene of the crash: “I’m sorry – I’m sleep-deprived and I just looked up and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it’s red.’ And then oh my God, and she [Mendez] was right there.”
• May 3, 2013: Padilla’s plea changes. Attorneys for Padilla enter guilty pleas on her behalf for charges of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, running a red light and failure to yield at a crosswalk. Judge Charles Gill decides he will not allow a plea agreement for sentencing and says Padilla will be required to appear in person for her sentencing on June 7. He orders Padilla to reports to a probation officer for there will be a probation report produced. Judge Gill says he will make his sentencing decision based on arguments from both sides, what the victims’ families say at the time of sentencing and Padilla’s probation report.
• May 22, 2013: NBC 7’s Mari Payton sits down with Bryan Fomon’s parents, Allie and Brad Fomon, for an exclusive update on the toddler’s health. The Fomons say Bryan is doing well in his recovery from the tragic crash that killed his beloved nanny, whom they called “Monse.” “They were like best friends, they were honestly best friends,” Brad Fomon said, referring to his son and Mendez. Allie Fomon says her and her husband “just crumbled and fell to pieces” when they learned that Mendez had died in the accident.
• June 7, 2013: Judge Charles Gill sentences Padilla to 48 hours in jail, 180 days of electronic surveillance/house arrest and three years of probation in connection with the fatal crash. The families of both Mendez and the toddler are outraged, calling the sentence an injustice. Judge Gill says he believes Padilla is genuinely remorseful. Allie Fomon, as well as Mendez’s 16-year-old daughter, are among those who give emotional statements in court arguing for a tougher sentence for Padilla.
• MOVING FORWARD - September 27, 2013: Padilla is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 27 for a restitution hearing.
• MOVING FORWARD: Padilla will face off with the Mendez family attorney in the near future over a civil lawsuit filed in March by the nanny’s family, including her two surviving children.