Clovis News

No contest plea after man flees SUV crash

A Clovis man has pleaded no contest to felony drunken driving and child endangerment in connection with a traffic crash in which he ran from the scene and left three children inside the SUV.

Richard James Riley, 34, will be sentenced in Fresno County Superior Court on June 23. Until then, he will be held in jail without bail, Judge Jonathan Conklin said.

Clovis police say Riley picked up three children from the Red Bank Elementary School's carnival and drove away in a Toyota 4-Runner shortly before 9 p.m. May 8. Minutes later, he lost control of the vehicle and crashed on a neighborhood street, causing the Toyota to roll on its side, police said.

Police said he left the children and hopped fences into backyards to avoid arrest. Two of the children suffered minor cuts and scrapes. With help from witnesses, Riley was captured near Shaw and Temperance.

On Tuesday, Riley accepted a plea agreement with the Fresno County District Attorney's Office. In exchange for his no contest pleas, five charges were dismissed, including hit and run, vehicle theft and child endangerment.

Riley faces four years in prison, the judge indicated.

Court records show Riley had a blood-alcohol content of 0.14%, or nearly twice the 0.08% legal limit. He also admitted having a criminal record. Court records show he was sentenced to prison for possession of a controlled substance in July and in January 2007.