By Fiona Davis
WOODLAND, CA – A man here in Yolo County Superior Court this week pleaded no contest to a hit-and-run charge just two months after he drove into a West Sacramento home while fleeing police.
But, while this case might be closed, residents of the home and neighborhood where the incident occurred fear that more crashes will follow.
Strangely, this isn’t the first time someone has crashed into this particular home. In May 2021, another car crashed into the same residence, that time hitting the front of the house.
And, according to local residents, these crashes are due to drivers frequently speeding through the neighborhood, with “crashes and accidents” being a common occurrence in this neighborhood.
While the city of West Sacramento has placed several stop signs in the intersection in front of the house in question, neighborhood residents have repeatedly requested speed bumps.
In response, a city spokesperson states that speed pumps posed problems for emergency responders, causing a slowdown in response times if emergency vehicles need to drive through the neighborhood.
“We know there have been concerns with the intersection since it was originally built decades ago…long before the City incorporated,” said city officials, adding, “We’ll continue to review and implement short- and long-term measures to improve safety for the residents.”
The city also noted that both incidents were unusual, saying that “the first involved a chase between two vehicles resulting in the crash, and the second was a police pursuit of a fleeing suspect.”
For residents of the home, the statements and solutions given by officials feel insufficient, as they and their neighbors remain concerned that car accidents will continue to occur.
“At this point, there will be a next time,” the homeowner stated.
On April 18 of this year, Pablo Lara was arrested and charged with nine misdemeanor and felony charges. Lara initially pleaded not guilty to all charges.
This Monday however, Lara pleaded no contest to a hit and run resulting in property damage, resisting arrest, and possession of a firearm by a person under the age of 30 who has a prior juvenile conviction.
In exchange, the five remaining charges were dropped, and it was agreed Lara would not be placed in a state prison “at the outset” when he is sentenced..
Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin noted, on the day of the arrest, a police officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Lara’s vehicle, but Lara fled from the police vehicle, leading to a police chase that ended with Lara crashing into a residential home.
The defendant was then placed under arrest after he tried to flee on foot. From there, the officer found a loaded firearm inside the vehicle, and Lara’s identification.
Based on news reports around the time of Lara’s arrest, it appears that the police chase ended in the intersection between Sixth Street and Cummins Way in West Sacramento, where the defendant crashed into the bedroom of the homeowner’s eight-year-old son.
While no one was home at the time of the crash, but one resident of the house said it was “too close of a call.”
The defendant’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 11.