LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The California Supreme Court refused today to review the case against a man convicted of second-degree murder and other charges for driving drunk and hitting a 13-month-old girl who was being pulled by her father in a wagon in a crosswalk in Long Beach.
Neely Dinkins is serving a prison term of 36 years and eight months to life in state prison.
Kaylee Alvarez was killed and her 2-year-old brother was seriously injured when the Dodge Durango that Dinkins was driving struck the red plastic Radio Flyer wagon being pulled by the children’s father in a marked crosswalk as they walked on a green light at Redondo Avenue and 10th Street on Sept. 11, 2009.
After the crash, the wagon got wedged under the vehicle, which came to a stop about halfway down the block after the victims’ mother and other bystanders screamed for him to stop and a nearby resident stepped in front of the vehicle.
That resident grabbed the little girl’s 2-year-old brother, Oscar, but Dinkins drove off with the the girl lodged under the SUV.
Dinkins drove 1.3 miles to his girlfriend’s house, where the girl was found under the right front wheel well of the Durango, according to a December 2012 ruling by a three-justice appellate panel that upheld his February 2011 conviction.
Jurors convicted Dinkins of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury, driving with a blood alcohol level of more than .08 percent with injury and leaving the scene of an accident.
In its ruling last Dec. 19, the appellate court panel found that that jurors “reasonably could have concluded appellant was driving the Durango while dragging Kaylee down streets, endangering, and knowing his conduct was endangering, her life and harboring a conscious disregard for life.”
“Appellant took no action to avert the impending collision and instead he drove into the crosswalk and the family,” Associate Justice Patti S. Kitching wrote.
Dinkins, whose driver’s license had been suspended in May 2008, was arrested nearby. He had a blood-alcohol content of .20 percent — 2 1/2 times the legal limit — more than an hour after the crash.
Dinkins told police after the crash that the family was jaywalking and that he had the right of way.