UPDATE: Fatal La Mirada hit-and-run suspect’s brother was killed in crash at same intersection

LA MIRADA — A man accused of fatally running down an elderly La Mirada man and fleeing the scene lost his brother in a car crash at the same intersection six months ago, officials said.
Geoffrey Rocha, 27, of La Mirada is expected to be arraigned today in Downey Superior Court on charges of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
He was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu that struck and killed 72-year-old Raul Quintanilla of La Mirada as he crossed Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Lawnhill Drive about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Deputy Jeff Tibbetts said.
Rocha is accused of then fleeing the scene before abandoning the car a short distance away.
He was jailed hours after the crash when he arrived at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station with an attorney to surrender, as deputies were obtaining a warrant for his arrest, investigators said.
Rocha’s brother, 30-year-old Gregory Rocha of La Mirada, was a passenger in a pickup truck that crashed at the same intersection on March 5, killing him.
The driver of the truck, 30-year-old Jason Hagan of Whittier, was also killed in the crash. The cause of the crash was determined to be drunken driving.
Raul Quintanilla had lived in La Mirada with his family for more than 40 years, said his son, Ray Quintanilla.
“He was a really great dad,” he said. “He’s well loved and he’ll be missed.
“He was really outgoing. He had a lot of friends,” Ray Quintanilla said. “A lot of people in the neighborhood were his friends.
“He liked boating, camping and hiking. He liked fishing and he was a member of the Elks Club,” he said.
An avid outdoorsman, Raul Quintanilla also loved to read and to learn.
“He was a book type of person,” the son said. “He was open-minded. You could talk to him about anything.”
When the tragedy occurred, Raul Quintanilla had been taking morning walks regularly to help him recuperate from another car accident he was in about a year ago, as well as the effects of radiation cancer treatment, Ray Quintanilla said.
“You can’t keep a good man down whose been active all his life,” he said. “He was taking his walks to get himself back in shape. He was doing good. He was building himself up.”
Raul Quintanilla spent the bulk of his career as a successful entrepreneur, starting restaurants with Ray in Inglewood and Buena Park, the son said. About 30 years ago, he joined the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as a chef.
“He was a volunteer on many projects with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department,” Ray Quintanilla said.
Raul Quintanilla is survived by his wife, Elida, sons Ray and Richard, a granddaughter, three brothers and two sisters.
Funeral services had not yet been arranged Wednesday.
According to county booking records, Geoffrey Rocha was being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station.
Any witnesses to the crash are asked to contact Deputy Tibbetts at 562-466-5441.

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  • Anonymous

    i see a pattern here, where are these intoxicated individuals getting drunk at?

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry that another person has lost their life…. I have to say though as much of an accident as it was any person with some kind of conscious would have not hit a human being with there car and left them in the middle of the road… Accidents happen but running, ditching car and hiding makes things look bad… I’m not saying pantic and being scared is not a human emotion but, there was another human being’s life to think about as well…

  • anonymous

    I know for a fact alcohol was involved and the bar he was getting wasted at and the bartender who was supplying the booze to this man! you dont know what I know, cuz i know all the parties and the facts. The reason you ditch the car and leave the scene is because Mr Rocha is a selfish person who cares for noone but himself, and knows by waiting for the Police he will be arrested for DUI on the spot and have even more serious charges brought upon him. He obviously did not learn anything from when his brother was killed in an alcohol related accident 6 months ago at same intersection leaving the same bar!

  • Anonymous

    Did the police test this guy for any alcohol? if they didn’t, don’t they know of this loophole? They are sending the wrong message, a fatal one; “hit and run”, You can drink and drive just don’t get caught, and if you hit somebody or get into a collision leave the scene, wait till your alcohol level goes down get a good lawyer, and then if you feel like it face the auhorities with a lawyer, chances are it will just be an accident or some lesser charge. Too bad that common sense, logic, and justice don’t play a role here, just going by the book of blinfolded law, going thru the motions that’s the problem; for anybody to do that of course they have something to hide: alcohol, besides, regardless of intoxicated or sober, for somebody to cause so much damage, let’s assume while being sober, and not to care about another human being leaving them behind to die is just as bad if not worst than being drunk because your judgement is not impaired so you know what you’re are doing, you are even more aware.