Paz pleads no contest to two counts

The Taft man arrested for a a hit-and-run crash that injured a Taft woman in February has taken a plea deal.

Bacilio Paz, 54, pleaded no contest to one felony count of being an accessory to a crime and one misdemeanor count of driving under influence at a preliminary hearing in Kern County Superior Court on Monday.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 24.

In exchange for the no contest pleas, felony counts of DUI causing injury, hit and run resulting in injury and a misdemeanor count of driving with out a license were dismissed.

The California Highway Patrol said Paz was driving drunk on Feb. 19 on Highway 119 just south of Tupman Road heading towards Taft when he made an unsafe lane change, lost control and collided with another vehicle.

Paz's sedan then went onto the shoulder, then veered back across traffic lanes and collided with an SUV being driven by a Taft woman, Melanie Funk, 74.

Funk's SUV overturned after the crash and she was stuck inside for a time until freed by firefighters.
She suffered minor injuries, according to emergency personnel.

Paz and a passenger fled from their vehicle and witness said they threw a 12-pack of beer as they ran.

Both men were captured later after a search by CHP officers and Kern County Sheriff's deputies.

The passenger, Marcelino Rogue, also of Taft, was charged with being drunk and disorderly.