A bench warrant was issued for the driver in a Sloan Canyon Road hit-and-run investigation after he reportedly failed to appear in court on Wednesday, according to law enforcement officials.
The driver, 19-year-old Raymond Perez, has been accused of one misdemeanor count of hit and run causing property damage in connection to the early-morning fiery crash in Castaic on Sept. 11.
Following the criminal complaint being filed by prosecutors on Sept. 29, Perez was ordered to appear in court on Nov. 10 for his arraignment — the initial proceeding in a criminal investigation that involves the defendant entering a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges filed against them.
“As of the last update on our system, Perez did not appear as scheduled today and a bench warrant has been issued,” Ricardo Santiago, a D.A.’s Office spokesman, said Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutors have alleged that on the morning of the crash, Perez was the driver of a vehicle that veered off the road at approximately 3 a.m. and crashed into the back of a home on the 28400 block of Sloan Canyon Road.
Following the crash and while it was leaned up against the back of the home, the vehicle reportedly caught fire and the Los Angeles County Fire Department was called to the scene.
Although the residents were inside the home when the crash occurred, no injuries were reported and firefighters had the blaze extinguished within minutes of their arrival. Responding California Highway Patrol officers reported that the driver of the vehicle was nowhere to be found at the scene and that speed was believed to have been a factor in the crash.
A fatal crash on Sunday, Aug. 8, on the same block claimed the life of 17-year-old Castaic resident Kayla Payan. Following the crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department impounded two vehicles involved in the collision to investigate whether the cars carrying Payan and five of her friends could have been engaged in street racing or traveling at high speeds.
Following the two crashes within a month of one another in the same area, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted for the road be accepted into the county road system, as it had previously remained under private control since it was built by Romero Canyon LCC as part of the Castaic High School project and went into public use in August 2019.
Traffic condition assessments, including recent collisions, and recommendations for any needed safety enhancements are also set to be completed as part of the approved motion.
In the state of California, a hit and run that involves only property damage is typically charged as a misdemeanor.
As of the publication of this story, no arrests have yet been made in connection to the collision that killed Payan as investigators are still awaiting the return of speed analysis results, according to Deputy Natalie Arriaga, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.