A 78-year-old Murrieta man is being held on $1 million bail in connection with a Jan. 15 hit-and-run crash in Santa Barbara that left one person dead.
Lau Van Huynh was arrested Saturday on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and hit-and-run with fatal injuries in an investigation that led law enforcement to Riverside County.
The crash that occurred at about 1 a.m. Jan. 15 on southbound Highway 101 near Ortega Street in Santa Barbara left a man identified as Simon Chavez dead, according to a news release issued by California Highway Patrol Officer James Richards, of the CHP Santa Barbara Area office.
“CHP officers arrived on scene and discovered Mr. Chavez had succumbed to injuries prior to their arrival,” Richards said. “The driver of the vehicle which struck Mr. Chavez immediately fled the scene.”
Chavez, 22, of Santa Barbara, was a former baseball coach at Santa Barbara High School, according to a report by Noozhawk, a Santa Barbara-based publication.
Evidence recovered at the scene of the crash, such as vehicle parts and debris, were used as part of an inter-agency investigation in an effort to locate a white 2011 Hyundai Tucson allegedly involved in the collision, according to Richards. Officers assigned to the Border Division Investigative Services Unit and CHP Temecula Area helped locate the Hyundai, he said.
CHP conducted surveillance on multiple residences throughout southern California, according to Richards.
A search warrant was served Thursday, Jan. 24 at an address in Murrieta, where investigators found the white 2011 Hyundai Tucson in question, according to Richards.
CHP Santa Barbara Area investigators took Huynh into custody Saturday on suspicion of his involvement in the crash. Huynh was later booked at Santa Barbara County Jail.
“At this time, it has not been determined if alcohol or drugs mays have been a factor in this collision,” Richards said. “The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected.”
The investigation is ongoing, and CHP Santa Barbara Area was expected to soon release more information, Richards said.
CHP Santa Barbara Area took possession of the Hyundai, and the Department of Justice is investigating forensics tying the Hyundai and Huynh to the crime scene, he said.
The Coastal Division CHP Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team will be conducting a mechanical inspection in the near future, he said.
Huynh remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.