• Suspect in fatal hit-and-run in Concord faces judge for first time

    By: Elsa Gillis , Stephanie Tinoco , Mark Barber

    Updated:

    Francisco Marin-Gonzalez was in court Monday for the first time since he was accused of striking and killing two Concord High students with his car and then taking off.

    Marin-Gonzalez, 21, was supported by a dozen family members when he faced a judge.

    The judge read off his long list of charges and said he could be sentenced to more than 23 years in prison if convicted of them all.

    Marin-Gonzalez was indicted by the grand jury on two counts of felony death by vehicle and one count of felony hit and run.

    Police said 14-year-old Jessie Marroquin Avelino and 15-year-old Ricardo Solano were killed Saturday in a hit-and-run on Concord Parkway North near Liske Avenue.

    Police said the two were crossing the street around 10 p.m. when they were struck by Marin-Gonzalez, who was driving a white Buick.

    Police said Marin-Gonzalez, and his passenger, Mark Gutierrez-Santos, left and abandoned their car in a Sears and Kmart parking lot.

    Marin-Gonzalez was arrested in connection with the incident.

    Marin-Gonzalez was charged with two counts of a felony hit-and-run, two counts of felony death by motor vehicle and one count of failing to stop in event of a crash and help. Police also said he was under the influence of drugs.


    (Marin-Gonzalez)

    Marin-Gonzalez remains in jail under a $1,000,000 secured bail.

    Gutierrez-Santos was charged with one count of failing to stop in event of a crash and help.

    The deaths of Avelino and Solano sent shock waves through the Concord community.

    "This is very sad; very tragic," Concord resident Sherri Howell said.

    "Speechless, really," said Rick Sandidge, a Concord High student.

    Howell, who passed by to lay flowers where the two died Saturday night, said her son grew up with Solano.

    "It laid on my heart when it hits close to home like this," Howell said.  "I've got very fond memories of Ricardo, very sweet kid, very joyful, full of life."

    Avelino was on the junior varsity football team, according to the school’s varsity coach. 

    "We want to put the spotlight on these kids’ lives and let everybody know what a joy they were," Howell said.

    "It's a tough blow,” said Concord High football coach Glen Padgett. “It's a tough blow on the students who were his friends and his teammates and the community. It's never easy. It's going to be a tough thing to overcome."

     

     

    Sandidge, a teammate on the football team, described Avelino as "funny, real funny, cool guy to have in a room."

    He said Avelino’s football career was just getting started.

     

    "Tomorrow's not promised," Sandidge said.

    "Two innocent lives, and it's very sad," Howell said. “It breaks my heart. I hope, if nothing else, these kids’ lives will be celebrated."

    Grieving students at Concord High are now relying on counselors as they get through classes without two of their classmates.

    “We're keeping our head above water and remembering fondly both of those young men and praying for them and their families," Padgett said.

    Gonzalez will be back in court in four weeks for his next hearing, and that is when evidence will be displayed from investigators.

    Padgett said the football team is planning to do something for the families.

    "(Avelino) came out late and he had to do a lot of makeup, if you will, extra running et cetera. to get himself eligible, and he did every bit of that,” Padgett said.

    While Channel 9 was at the scene of the hit-and-run, a blue Honda Accord plowed through the crime scene, nearly hitting several officers. 

    Police said the man driving the Honda was drunk. 

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