A local man suspected of vehicular manslaughter is set for his next hearing Thursday afternoon.
Hollister resident Matthew Echevarria has been charged on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the Dec. 23 death of a 20-year-old local woman from the incident on Hillcrest Road.
The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office charged Echevarria with vehicular manslaughter along with charges alleging driving under the influence causing injury and hit and run with an injury.
For the manslaughter charge alone, Echevarria could face up to four years in prison if convicted.
Echevarria is scheduled for a preliminary setting at 2 p.m. Thursday at the San Benito County Courthouse. It’s where a judge could set a crucial preliminary examination, the stage where it’s decided if there’s enough evidence for a trial.
The victim was Halie Elliott, age 20, according to the San Benito County Coroner’s Office. Authorities say she had recently moved to Hollister from the Bay Area.
Hollister police allege the driver fled the scene but was later located by officers.
According to the police report:
At about 5:37 p.m. Dec. 23, a traffic collision was reported in the 1500 block of Hillcrest Road. First responders located a 20-year-old female lying in the roadway where she was pronounced deceased a short time later. Witnesses explained how the driver of the involved vehicle drove away after the crash.
During the investigation, several citizens approached police with information about the crash. The information led to the location of the involved van and the reported driver, Echevarria.
Hollister police officers contacted Echevarria and had him perform a series of field sobriety tests. Officers determined there was probable cause to believe he was driving the involved vehicle and may have been under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.
Echevarria was later booked in the San Benito County jail on recommended charges of hit and run from an injury collision, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of drugs causing injury.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Hollister Police Department at (831) 636-4330. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip hotline at 800-87-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.