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Fatal hit and run suspect racks up another traffic citation
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The Patterson woman who is standing accused of hitting a bicyclist while driving on a Turlock road and leaving him mortally wounded, was issued another traffic citation March 25, just five days before her last court appearance.

Vanessa Carrillo, 21, was issued a citation for driving on a suspended license on March 25, about two weeks after her license was taken from her by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Carrillo is facing criminal charges of felony hit and run resulting in injury and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence for the September 2010 death of Patrick O’Connor.

The case against Carrillo was given a continuance on Wednesday after she was assigned a new public defender. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 6.

The news that Carrillo was cited and not arrested for driving on a suspended license was upsetting for the O’Connor family, who has expressed previous frustrations at the way the case has been handled.

“What does it take to get Carrillo booked?” Jim O’Connor, Patrick’s father asked in exasperation. “We have been up there in the Stanislaus Superior Court on March 3, March 9, March 30 and now we’ll return April 6 and still she has never been booked for anything. No picture. No fingerprinting. No bail. No jail time. Just a complaint warrant that she killed someone in Stanislaus County.”

Patrick O’Connor was living in Sacramento and was in Turlock for a business trip. In training for an Iron Man competition, the 27-year-old athlete went out for a bike ride on Fulkerth Road on Sept. 1, 2010.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Carrillo was traveling between an approximate speed of 55 to 60 mph when her Toyota Corolla struck Patrick O’Connor from behind. The impact sent him tumbling over the front end of the car and onto the pavement. The injuries he sustained proved fatal and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The CHP report states Carrillo made no effort to stop prior to the collision. She did stop about 150 feet away from the point of impact before driving away.

A witness alerted to the crash from the sound, was able to get a partial license plate number and told the CHP investigators he could see damage to the vehicle and the driver was talking on a cell phone as she passed.

Carrillo drove to her mother’s house in Patterson and about an hour after the collision she called 911 and told them she had hit something and that she believed it was a dog.

When CHP officers arrived at the Patterson home they saw the Toyota Corolla and noticed that it had significant front end damage, including a missing portion of the front bumper, a deep indent in the hood and a broken windshield. Upon a closer look they could see blood and hair on the roof on the car, according to the report.

In her initial statement to the CHP, Carrillo said she was traveling on Fulkerth and saw a black figure but that the sun was in her eyes and then she felt and heard the impact.

She said she stopped about 150 feet away and looking through her rear view mirror, she saw a black figure in the road. Carrillo told the CHP she called her mother and told her that she had just hit something. Her mother advised her to stay there, but Carrillo said she panicked and fled the scene.

She told the officers she was not distracted prior to the collision and that she had not been using a cell phone at the time.

Upon further questioning, Carrillo changed a portion of her story, saying she had returned to the scene and saw the emergency vehicle and then went home and called 911.

In addition to the driving on a suspended license citation issued on March 25, Carrillo has had other traffic violations over the last few years. In June 2008, she was cited for driving at an unsafe speed for prevailing conditions. In May 2009, she was ticketed for an improper turn from a two-way left turn lane. In October 2009, she was again issued a citation for driving at an unsafe speed for prevailing conditions.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.