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Man sentenced in fatal hit-and-run

February 4, 2009 | 12:13 pm

An illegal immigrant who pleaded no contest to killing an elderly couple in 1992 was sentenced Wednesday to a year in county jail and five years' probation.

Christian Lopez Herrera, 36, could have faced a maximum of six years in state prison but received the lesser sentence after agreeing to comply with the terms of his probation, set at five years by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Tomson T. Ong.

Authorities said, with time served and credits, he will effectively serve another three months in jail before his release. An illegal immigrant from Mexico, Herrera is expected to be deported at the conclusion of his sentence.

Herrera pleaded no contest  last month to a single count of felony hit-and-run and two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter. The incident occurred March 22, 1992, when Herrera drove away after striking Frederick and Ezna Crescitelli and Joan Pollack as the three were crossing the street in Long Beach. The Crescitellis died as a result of the accident, and Pollack suffered serious injuries.

A week after the collision, prosecutors said, Herrera fled to Mexico. He is thought to have returned to the San Pedro area as early as 2003.  Herrera was located by Los Angeles police detectives after receiving tips from the public when a story about the unsolved case ran in a local paper.

--Andrew Blankstein