A driver being investigated in connection with a hit-and-run crash in Escondido that killed an avid cycler and new father faces nearly 20 charges, though none were for the deadly crash, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Jamison Connor, 41, was arrested on Thanksgiving in connection with the crash that killed 36-year-old Kevin Lentz on Nov. 23.
The suspected driver struck Lentz in the 1600 block of La Honda Drive and fleeing the scene, leaving the victim to succumb to his injuries, according to the Escondido Police Department.
Connor has been charged with 19 counts, including child cruelty resulting in injury or death, drunk driving and having a concealed weapon in a vehicle, but no charges have been filed in connection with the hit-and-run crash.
He also faces three counts of crime against a person or property while having a previous conviction for narcotics and four counts of possessing ammo while prohibited, according to EPD.
Of the 19 charges brought against Connor, 16 are felonies and three are misdemeanors.
Lentz was riding his bike with a group of cyclists, including his friend Marc Engelhardt, when he was struck. Engelhardt said he knew something was off when he saw traffic starting to back up and noticed his buddy was no longer on his tail.
"We rode as fast as we could back up the hill. We got there, and it wasn't a scene I ever want to see again," Engelhardt said.
The car missed a second cyclist riding alongside Lentz by just inches, according to witnesses.
After the driver fled the scene, a dark-colored Toyota sedan believed to be involved in the crash was found abandoned with server damage less than a mile away on Aster Street, police said.
Five days after the collision, police found and arrested Connor.
“This is a tragic loss. You have a father and husband who died in this accident and obviously that touches so many different people,” said EPD Lt. Scott Walters.
Lentz leaves behind his wife and infant son. His wife described him as an avid cyclist and adventurer who nurtured several close friendships.
“Kevin was a father, husband, son, nephew, grandson, friend, avid cyclist and so much more. Kevin had a subtle magnetism that made him many friendships - his beautiful smile, eagerness for adventure, and willingness to lend his expertise and time to anyone who needed it meant that all these relationships will leave a lasting imprint on all who knew him. Memories of him will now be the example his loving family and friends use to paint a vivid picture of the man Kevin was for his young son. We have chosen not to focus on how he was taken but redirect our energy to cherish the short time that we had with him on this earth. Kevin’s family would like to give our sincere thanks and gratitude for the amazing outpouring of love and support.”
Anyone who may have witnessed the collision can call EPD Officer Adan Martinez at (760) 839-4465.
Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to reflect Connor has not been charged with hit-and-run but is still under investigation in connection to the crash.