Hearing for hit-and-run suspect continued

Sandra Arias, 28, pictured in a file photo at a previous hearing on the Joshua Valdez hit and run case at South County Courthouse. 

The Morgan Hill woman accused of hitting and critically injuring Gilroy High School graduate Joshua Valdez, 22, appeared in court Friday, but her scheduled hearing was postponed. 

The next hearing for hit-and-run suspect Sandra Arias, 28 of Morgan Hill, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill. It is scheduled as a plea hearing, though Arias pleaded not guilty July 6 to the charge of felony hit and run causing injury. 

Friday’s court appearance was brief, and Arias’ attorney Riccardo Ippolito spoke for her. 

Ippolito told Superior Court Judge Alfonso Fernandez that he and Arias were still gathering and reviewing evidence related to the June 16 accident that left Valdez comatose for almost a month. 

Arias is accused of hitting Valdez, who was on foot, with the Volkswagen Beetle she was driving on Butterfield Boulevard, and failing to stop to help him or call for assistance. 

Police found Valdez, who is known to his family and friends as “Joshie,” near the intersection of Butterfield Boulevard and San Pedro Avenue about 1 a.m. June 16. He was unconscious and breathing, and paramedics who arrived at the scene determined he had been hit by a car.

Police and friends have said Valdez was walking home alone from a friend’s house when he was hit. 

Arias was arrested in relation to the incident June 21. According to police reports describing Arias’ interview with police following her arrest, she admitted to accidentally hitting Valdez and failing to stop at the scene. 

Valdez, a Morgan Hill resident, suffered numerous injuries including head trauma, several broken bones, bruised ribs and a bruised lung as a result of the accident, police said. 

He remains in the hospital recovering from the injuries. 

About a half-dozen of his friends and family attended Friday’s hearing. 

Valdez’ friend Chris Hill said at the courthouse that he and a handful of friends have visited Joshie “about two or three times a week” in recent weeks, as visitors’ restrictions have been partially lifted due to his improving health. 

While Joshie is still in a “haze,” likely from the head injury he suffered in the accident, Hill said he is “doing a lot better.” He is currently undergoing a variety of therapies to assist with his recovery. 

“Even though he has brain trauma he has the best sense of humor,” Hill said. 

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