Judge Orders Driver Accused in Hit-and-Run Crash to Stand Trial

Judge Orders Driver Accused in Hit-and-Run Crash to Stand Trial

News Staff

A man who allegedly struck and seriously injured a pedestrian in Palm Springs, then drove from the crash scene to his Cathedral City home with the injured victim still atop his car, was ordered Thursday to stand trial on a felony charge.

Randy Lee Miller, 40, appeared at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, where Riverside County Superior Court Judge Russell Moore ruled that enough evidence was presented to proceed to trial on a charge of hit-and-run causing injury, but the judge dropped an accompanying DUI charge.

Miller is due back in court on Oct. 3 for arraignment.

Police alleged that Miller was under the influence of a central nervous system depressant at the time of the predawn crash last Sept. 11 on Vista Chino, just east of Gene Autry Trail, near the area known as the wash.

The Cathedral City resident allegedly struck Jared Wright, 25, of Palm Springs, about 4 a.m. while driving east on Vista Chino toward the wash, then drove about two miles from the scene to his home, where firefighters and police found the victim “on the roof of the vehicle with significant injuries,” according to an arrest warrant declaration.

Firefighters took Wright to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs for treatment.

The crash shattered the windshield of Miller’s Volkswagen Passat, pushing the top portion into the car’s interior, and also damaged the hood and roof, the declaration states. Blood was found on the roof and passenger side of the Volkswagen.

Miller told investigators that he knew he hit something due to a loud noise and window damage but did not exit his car and see what it was, according to the declaration. He said he did not have his cellphone on him, so he drove to his home, then discovered Wright atop his car upon his arrival, according to the declaration.

Palm Springs police Detective Alan Donovan, in testimony at the preliminary hearing, said the spot where the crash occurred does not have sidewalks and is not typically a place where pedestrians are seen walking. He said Wright would have been primarily at fault had it not been for the investigators’ determination that Miller was allegedly driving under the influence.

Miller was arrested at his home the day of the collision and released the next day on $25,000 bail, according to county jail records.