Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Suspect in 2010 hit-and-run crash that injured 7 back in jail

  • Francisco Rios-Ortiz disappeared for 3 years, but he was arrested earlier this month and is being held without bail.
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  • A man accused of causing a three-car pileup north of Taft three years ago that injured seven people will be back in court on Aug. 29.
    Francisco Rios-Ortiz is now 41 years old.
    He was 38 at the time of the Sept. 5, 2010 crash at Highway 119 and Midway Road.
    Rios-Ortiz fled the scene of the crash and was arrested about 8 hours after the accident, walking along Highway 119 in the Valley Acres area.
    Rios-Ortiz was originally held on $112,500 bail.
    Details about how or when he was released were not immediately available.
    But he disappeared for nearly 3 years after failing to appear for his arraignment, Kern County Superior Court records show.
    Kern County Jail records show he was booked back into jail here on August 5 on a no-bail warrant for the charges stemming from the accident.
    He is also being held on a no-bail parole hold by the United States Border Patrol.
    He was scheduled to be in Taft on Thursday but that was postponed until Aug. 29.
    A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3.
    Rios-Ortiz is accused of felony drunk driving causing injury, hit and run resulting in permanent serious injury and driving without a license.
    Rios-Ortiz, the California Highway Patrol said at the time, was driving a Subaru Forester southbound on Highway 119 just after 11 p.m. when it slammed into the rear of a Saturn sedan with four people inside.
    The Saturn, also southbound, had stopped for a red light.
    The impact pushed the Saturn into a big rig hauling propane that was making a left turn at the time.
    The four people in the Saturn were all injured.
    So were two passengers in the Forester that the CHP says was driven by Rios-Ortiz
    The most serious injury was to a toddler, Alexis Ramirez of Taft, then two years old.
    She was flown from the scene by helicopter to KMC.
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