No jail for Fresno County driver who killed pedestrian. Judge reduces felony DUI charges

·2 min read
Fresno County Sheriff

A Fresno County judge on Tuesday ruled a driver who struck and killed a woman walking along the shoulder of Highway 180 will get no jail or prison time.

Kenia Rodriguez, 34, was sentenced by Judge Michael Idiart to three years probation and 90 days in the adult offender work program.

After the sentencing hearing, Rodriguez said she was relieved the case was resolved. “This has been very difficult and has taken a long time,” she said. “I am just glad it is over.”

Rodriguez could have faced up to three years in prison for the death of 42-year-old Heather Martinez of Fresno. Police said that for some unknown reason Martinez was walking along the highway at about 2:30 a.m. on June 28, 2020.

Rodriguez was on her way home from Table Mountain Casino when she struck Martinez near North Piedra Road in east Fresno County.

Witnesses said Rodriguez stopped, gave someone her name and phone number and left after a passerby told her she didn’t need to wait because the crash was an accident.

Rodriguez, a wife and mother of five, was initially charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence and felony hit and run resulting in permanent injury or death. The felony was bumped down to a misdemeanor by Judge Idiart.

Rodriguez agreed to plead no contest to the misdemeanor charges.

Idiart defended his position by saying Rodriguez did nearly everything she was supposed to do in accident. She stopped, gave her name and phone number to a witness at the scene and then left. What she didn’t do was give her address and vehicle registration to a law enforcement officer.

Idiart called her mistake misdemeanor conduct.

“It is clear from the evidence that she was not at fault,” Idiart said. “I don’t know if (the victim) was just a careless individual walking across the street or if this was someone who wanted to be hit.”

Rodriguez was represented by David Jones of Fresno and representing the people was prosecutor Cameron Simoes.