Hit-and-Run Driver Gets Probation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The man who struck and killed a 4-year-boy with his car in South Encanto pleaded guilty to hit-and-run on Friday.

    Samuel Metu, 19, will be placed on probation, with credit for time served, when he is sentenced next Wednesday.

    Metu was charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run, when he hit Jameson Darapeth on July 10 with his car as he traveled down Madrone Avenue in Skyline.

    Darapeth and his older brother were looking for their family dog. On that fateful day, the 12-year-old said, he told his brother to stay where he was as he crossed the road. Moments later, he said he heard a thump; when he turned around, his younger brother was lying in the middle of the street.

    During the preliminary hearing, detectives testified about the day of the accident.

    "He told me that as he was driving by, he saw the little boy and made sure the little boy wasn't entering the street with the dog and then he felt and heard a bump and continued driving eastbound," testified San Diego Police detective Ronald W. Lemaster.

    The detective said Metu and his mother were traveling in separate cars to go to the gas station near their home, to get ready for an event they planned to attend later that day.

    At the scene, police said Metu told them he thought he had hit a speed bump. At first, police did not take Metu into custody, but he was later arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, because, investigators said witness statements, as well as statements from his mother, conflicted.

    "He was smart, friendly, a playful boy. He was so talkative. I’m hanging in there. I still have three kids to take care of, so I have to stay strong," said Jameson's mother Maria Delgado.

    Neighbors say Madrone Avenue is a street where the kids are always playing outside, so they make sure to drive slowly.

    Metu would have faced four years in prison, if he had been convicted during the trial. Metu was a student athlete at California Lutheran University at the time of the incident