SANTA ANA, California–In a Monday morning press conference at the Santa Ana Police department, Police Chief Carlos Rojas announced that a black male, 31-year-old Jaquinn Raymond Bell, was arrested on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. He is being charged with hit-and-run and felony cause of death for allegedly running down and killing three thirteen-year-old girls while they were trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
Rojas commended the officers of the SAPD for arriving on the scene of the hit-and run within three minutes and for finding the alleged perpetrator less than 48 hours from the time that Bell, driving a 2001 black Honda CR-V, struck and killed twin sisters Lexia and Lexandra Perez and their friend Andrea Gonzalez.
The SAPD investigation led detectives to Bell, who was arrested at a motel in the city of Stanton. Arrested along with him were two other adults and two minors. On Sunday night, all others were released; only Bell remains in custody.
The two minors were Bell’s daughter and his son, age 14 and 17-years-old. Both were with Bell at the time of the hit-and-run and fled the scene with the father, but they were not charged in the fatal incident. The two adults released were Bell’s mother and half-sister.
Chief Rojas asserted that the investigation is still ongoing, and he would not release certain crucial information at this point.
Rojas said that he did not know whether the suspect had a valid driver’s license and refused to say if he had any prior arrests. He did comment that Bell was not the registered owner of the vehicle, but that it belonged to an acquaintance of his. Bell did not steal the vehicle.
However, according to the LA Times, Bell had a suspended license and is being helld on $500,000 bail. The Times added:
Court records in Orange County Superior Court show that a man with the same name and date of birth was convicted of hit-and-run driving and driving under the influence in August. That person was sentenced to 10 days in jail, ordered to serve three years of probation and enroll in both an alcohol abuse and child abuse treatment program, court records show.
From a Monday 2:29 p.m. update to the LA Times article: Bell’s criminal record dates back until at least 2009 when he pleaded guilty to corporal injury on a spouse or co-habitant and was given probation, which court records show has been revoked seven times since then.The probation violations included a 2009 case in which he was charged with driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license. He was again given probation after he pleaded guilty the following year, court records show.In 2010, he pleaded guilty to violating a protective order and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and probation and was ordered to complete a treatment program for batterers, court documents show.His probation was revoked and then reinstated several additional times in the subsequent years, including for his August arrest for hit-and-run driving and driving under the influence.
Rojas added that they have many witnesses to the hit-and-run, because it happened in a highly trafficked area. Moreover, he said that the vehicle and the front windshield were significantly crushed from the impact of the now deceased girls.