Woman arraigned today in hit-and-run death of Michael Villalpando
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Written by Trevor Montgomery
Rebekah Dawn Loberg pleaded not guilty at the Banning Superior Court today to a hit-and-run that resulted in the death of 33-year-old Hemet resident, Michael Villalpando. Loberg was also charged during today’s arraignment with driving while addicted to a dangerous drug.
The fatal hit-and-run accident occurred on the evening of Nov. 6, at about 9:20 p.m. Villalpando was reportedly walking on the eastbound shoulder of State Hwy 74, when he was struck by a vehicle that left the roadway and swerved into him. The accident occurred East of Lake Street, in the unincorporated area of Valle Vista.
The car involved in the crash was later found parked and unoccupied at New Chicago and Lincoln Avenues, not far from where the fatal accident occurred. Officers found the car to have front end damage consistent with the hit-and-run as well as the witness statements. The car was towed for evidence as part of the vehicular manslaughter investigation.
According to CHP Press Information Officer Darren Meyer, investigators assigned to the case conducted a records check to determine who the registered owner of the vehicle was. They also collected fingerprints, DNA, and personal belongings from the car, in order to prove who was driving at the time of the collision.
Based on what investigators learned, CHP officers arrested Loberg, who they believed to have been driving a red 2000 Honda Accord at the time of the accident.
Riverside County Jail records indicated Loberg, who is 30-years-old, was arrested on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 10:18 p.m. Records also indicated Loberg was arrested at the San Gorgonio Pass CHP station. She was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional facility the following morning, just before 1:00 a.m. and was being held on $75,000 bail.
Loberg was initially booked into jail with hit-and-run resulting in death, gross vehicular manslaughter, driving with a suspended license, being under the influence of a controlled substance and driving while being a drug addict.
It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in California while addicted to any mind altering drug. Although violations of this Vehicle Code section are not commonly prosecuted, driving while addicted remains a criminal offense in California.
A criminal records check showed Loberg had numerous previous law enforcement contacts, although mostly for vehicle code violations.
Loberg’s next court appearance has been scheduled for Dec. 7 for a Felony Settlement Conference at the Banning Superior Court. Her preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 9.
Written by Trevor Montgomery
The Riverside County Coroner’s Office has identified Michael Villalpando, a 33-year-old resident of Hemet, as the victim of a fatal hit and run accident that occurred on State Hwy 74, East of Lake Street, in the unincorporated area of Hemet last night.
Villalpando was reportedly married and had five children.
A California Highway Patrol spokesperson had previously confirmed a man died Friday evening, November 6, after being hit by a car while he was walking along Highway 74.
At about 9:21 p.m., the California Highway Patrol received a 911 call that a man had been struck by a sedan near the intersection of Highway 74 and New Chicago Avenue.
Witnesses at the scene had stated the vehicle involved in the fatal hit and run was red in color, had paper plates and sustained front end damage during the collision. The vehicle was also said to have been missing a side mirror, which was possibly recovered at the scene of the accident.
The vehicle involved in the crash was found and towed for evidence as part of the vehicular manslaughter investigation. The driver, who has yet to be unidentified, is reported to have fled the scene.
Anyone with information about this fatal incident is encouraged to immediately contact the California Highway Patrol San Gorgonio Pass office at (951) 769-2000.
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