SANTA MONICA—On Thursday, March 23, a 21-year-old man accused of killing a pedestrian while driving under the influence and fleeing the scene, was charged, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office indicated in a press release.
Absadi Tewelde Kidane is accused of striking a pedestrian, Donald Thomas Jr., 40, with his vehicle as Thomas was paying for parking at a kiosk in the Santa Monica Civic Center lot located at 1821 Main Street on March 21. It is alleged that the defendant fled the scene, hit another car, and fled from police officers on foot, said Deputy District Attorney Sarika Kim of the DUI Training and Prosecution Section.
Thomas, a resident of Hawthorne, was found unresponsive with critical injuries on Main Street. He was treated at the scene by Santa Monica Fire Department Paramedics. He was later transported to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
“The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed the following charges: Gross Vehicular Manslaughter; Felony Driving Under the Influence; Felony Hit and Run Accident; and Resisting Arrest with Force,” Lt. Saul Rodriguez of the Santa Monica Police Department told Canyon News.
“Yesterday in London we had a tragic situation in which people were mowed down,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz. “We had things like this that happened in France and other countries.”
According to reports, the incident is being considered a possible act of terrorism after investigators found notes in the defendant’s vehicle with Arabic writing and a passport showing that he traveled to the Middle East,.
Kidane’s attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez, said that the defendant is being racially profiled. He said that Kidane is an American citizen, a Christian, and a recently enrolled college student.
Kidane is scheduled to return to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch on April 21. If convicted as charged, the defendant faces up to 15 years in state prison. His bail has been set at $10 million. The case is being investigated by the Santa Monica Police Department.
“The case is on-going and SMPD Detectives are investigating any and all possible leads on this matter,” Lt. Rodriguez told Canyon News.