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Ernesto Nava Herrera sentenced in connection with hit and run that killed 14-year-old in 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. – San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced on Thursday that Earnesto Nava Herrera has been sentenced to six years eight months plus 15 years to life for the hit-and-run murder of a 14-year-old.

Previously, Herrera was found guilty by a San Luis Obispo County jury on all charged counts including: murder in the second degree, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit and run causing death, driving under the influence of alcohol causing great bodily injury, and driving on a suspended license detail San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office.

Herrera also pleaded no contest to possession of child pornography which was discovered on his phone during the investigation into the homicide state San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office.

According to San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office, during the almost three-week trial, jurors heard evidence that Herrera was intoxicated when he collided with 70 feet of metal pipe fencing and a tree before colliding head-on with another vehicle while driving the wrong way on Highway 101.

That head-on collision killed a 14-year-old and seriously injured two other people in the vehicle state San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office.

During Herrera's sentencing hearing, the mother of the 14-year-old provided the following statement about her son:

“My son...was an only child, a miracle boy, and he had many dreams and aspirations.  He was a very ambitious 14-year-old, enjoyed soccer, and was an avid reader.  He loved to travel and had been to Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, and many state in the US, and he loved Disneyland.  He was a pleasure to be around, and he was loved by many.  He loved math, physics, and science.  He was a 4.0 student and was enroute to be valedictorian of his class.  He aspired to be an engineer and hoped someday to be a Noble prize winner.  He loved sea otters, and he had a best friend, Oddy.  He looked forward to Summer Christian Camp, and spending time with his cousins. He also enjoyed summer school and math enrichment, and spending time with his friends.  “J” will be missed every day and remembered forever.”

Herrera fled the scene of the collision on foot and was located about an hour later by the California Highway Patrol using a helicopter equipped with forward-facing infrared technology explain San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office.

According to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office, Herrera was spotted crawling near the freeway and had a blood alcohol level of 0.164 around two-and-a-half hours after the collision.

“This is a terrible, yet completely avoidable tragedy,” said Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth.  “As this incident so heartbreakingly illustrates, driving while impaired puts every life on the roadway in peril.  We will aggressively prosecute drunk or drugged drivers in our community and will charge murder when appropriate.  We are hopeful that completion of the criminal case will provide family and friends the space necessary to begin healing.”

Article Topic Follows: San Luis Obispo County
crime and convictions
san luis obispo county
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office

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Andrew Gillies

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