A 23-year-old Livingston man accused of striking and killing a 3-year-old girl with his girlfriend's car will face trial on a felony hit-and-run charge, a Merced County judge ruled Tuesday.
But during the preliminary hearing, Merced County Judge Ronald W. Hansen said there wasn't enough evidence to also charge Isaac Gustavo Maldonado with a second felony of gross negligence for vehicular manslaughter, converting that charge to a misdemeanor, Deputy District Attorney Michael McAfee said.
Maldonado has pleaded not guilty to the felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter charges. But on Tuesday, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving without a license.
Maldonado is accused of striking 3-year-old Dayveonna Polk with the car as the child was walking with her family in a crosswalk at the intersection of 18th and R streets on Dec. 4, 2017.
The child was taken to Valley Children's Hospital in Madera where she died from major injuries, police said.
After the crash, Maldonado sped away, turning into the Dollar Tree parking lot next to R Street, according to police reports. He then reportedly turned left onto West Main Street.
The reports indicate several video surveillance cameras from businesses in the area captured the getaway.
Video from two of those businesses were played in court Tuesday, McAfee said. But Hansen ruled there still wasn't enough evidence to show Maldonado was grossly negligent when the child was hit.
If convicted, Maldonado faces a maximum of eight years in prison for the felony hit and run charge, one year for the vehicular manslaughter charge and six months for driving without a license, McAfee said.
Maldonado's next hearing is scheduled for July 3.