South Valley hit-and-run case heads to preliminary hearing phase

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Monday morning, Tulare County Judge Brett Alldredge said he was not willing to sentence Secundino Villanueva yet. (KFSN)

Monday morning, Tulare County Judge Brett Alldredge said he was not willing to sentence Secundino Villanueva yet.

He decided to withdraw the indicated sentence of 270 days in jail (Villanueva also withdrew his no-contest plea). Villanueva's daughter thinks the judge wants to take a careful look at both sides of the situation.

It's a complicated situation because Villanueva's brother-in-law is the victim in the case. She says that fact has split the family in half.

"Some people are angry still that it happened, some people understand how he was as a person, and they're with him, but half is against him," Karla Villanueva said.

On an early morning in June, Francisco Mayorga was crossing Walnut Avenue with his walker when Villanueva, a construction worker, and his brother-in-law, hit him with his truck, killing him. Villanueva didn't stop.

His daughter says her dad didn't think he had hit a human, let alone a family member.

"He's just a really hard worker and he cares a lot about people. He would never hurt even an animal," Villanueva said.

She says her dad put two and two together when she called to tell him how her uncle had died. Later that day, she drove him to the Visalia Police station, where he was arrested.

"When I talk to him even now, I go visit him, he wants to say sorry," she said. "He even said he would apologize to the whole family and he feels really bad still in there thinking about what happened."

Villanueva will be back in court late next week for his preliminary hearing. He still faces a maximum of four years in prison.

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courttulare countyVisalia
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