Community Remembers Woman Killed In Hit & Run
KINGSBURG, Calif. (KMPH) —
Hundreds showed up at Memorial Park in Kingsburg for a candlelight vigil in honor of 24-year-old Regan Johnson Thursday night.
Friends of Johnson took turns stepping up to a microphone to share a few words.
Ironically, the vigil was held directly across the street from Kingsburg High School where Johnson graduated valedictorian of her class in 2006.
Grace Patterson says, "Regan was the most generous person that I'll ever have known in my life. She was kind, smart, intelligent and she loved life."
Grace Patterson says she will forever cherish the time she got to share with her best friend, Regan.
Family members say the two were more like sisters.
Grace says ever since she got the call about Regan's death on Wednesday, she's been struggling with the blame she has towards 26-year-old Alyssa Villanueva and Villanueva's stepfather, 40-year-old Antonio Rios Junior.
Grace says, "You can feel one way one hour and another way the next. But it doesn't change she's not coming back."
Villanueva was arrested after police got a tip that her car may be the car involved in the deadly accident.
Officers say Rios is accused of draping a car cover over it, in an attempt to try to hide it.
Court documents show, Antonio Rios Junior has a lengthy criminal record.
A record that shows in 2006, he faced three misdemeanors for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
He took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to one of them, and got probation.
In 2007, he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possessing a controlled substance; he got three years probation and had to attend an alcoholic's anonymous program.
Also in 2007, he got a DUI and was caught driving with suspended license; he got probation.
That same year, he was caught once again driving with a suspended license and unsafely passing someone on the right shoulder. Court records show he failed to pay the fines and got probation.
In 2008, he was caught again driving on a suspended license, and got probation.
In 2009, he got another DUI and was driving on suspended license.
The court gave him probation.
KMPH News Reporter Erik Rosales tried to get a comment from Rios at his home, but was told he wasn't there.
As for Alyssa Villanueva, court documents show in 2007, she got a speeding ticket but failed to pay the fines so the D.M.V. took her license.
In 2009, she got a DUI while driving on a suspended license. Court records show she made a plea deal and pleaded no contest.
In 2011 she got a ticket for driving without a license and for driving against one way traffic.
Grace Patterson says Regan believed strongly in the justice system. She now hopes the system will never allow Villanueva to drive again.
Grace says she will also hold close to her heart the last conversation she had with Regan just before Regan went to work.
Grace says, "You don't expect for that next phone call not to come. Regan lived life to the fullest. She did enjoy everything and that's her testimony."
Meanwhile, Alyssa Villanueva remains inside the Fresno County Jail.
Jail booking records show she is facing a variety of charges, including murder, driving while intoxicated causing death, hit and run, and driving with a suspended license.
As for Antonio Rios Junior, he was booked at the jail, and then released.