Crime

Suspect accused of killing Clovis Unified educator free on bail, questions linger about hit-and-run

Rogelio Alvarez, 18, turned himself Friday then was arrested and taken into custody for the fatal car crash that killed popular Clovis Unified administrator Gavin Gladding on Sept. 16, 2018. Though he does not have a license, Alvarez allegedly was driving a 2006 midnight blue Chevy Silverado at the time of the crash. He faces possible charges for vehicular manslaughter felony, felony hit and run and driving without a California driver’s license.
Rogelio Alvarez, 18, turned himself Friday then was arrested and taken into custody for the fatal car crash that killed popular Clovis Unified administrator Gavin Gladding on Sept. 16, 2018. Though he does not have a license, Alvarez allegedly was driving a 2006 midnight blue Chevy Silverado at the time of the crash. He faces possible charges for vehicular manslaughter felony, felony hit and run and driving without a California driver’s license.

An 18-year-old Washington Union High graduate suspected of killing a beloved Clovis Unified administrator is out of custody, as questions about the case linger.

Late Friday evening, California Highway Patrol officials said they believe Rogelio Alvarez was the driver who struck Gavin Gladding, 43, around 6 a.m. Sept. 16 on the shoulder area of Friant Road, west of Willow Avenue.

The suspect was also booked under the name Rogelio Alvarez-Maravilla.

Gladding, a Fort Washington Elementary vice principal, had been running to train for a marathon when he was struck by a truck, which had swerved off the road.

Alvarez allegedly was driving without a license and left the scene. He turned himself in Friday and was released after posting $6,100 bail.

An anonymous tipster provided the location of Alvarez’s vehicle, which was parked at his parent’s house in the area of Floral and Cedar avenues. The truck, which allegedly had damage consistent with the deadly crash, is owned by Alvarez’s father.

It’s still unknown whether Alvarez was intoxicated at the time of the accident, though CHP said drugs and alcohol were not found in the vehicle. Investigators said there was a female passenger in Alvarez’s vehicle, although the identity of that person has not been revealed.

More details about the investigation might be brought to light after Alvarez appears for his scheduled Oct. 5 court hearing. He could be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run and driving without a California driver’s license.

Alvarez graduated from Washington Union High School this year, and played golf and soccer with the school, according to Bee sports archives.

gavin gladding.jpg
Gavin Gladding was running along Friant Road around 6 a.m. on Sunday when he was struck by a pickup truck. A page on gofundme.com was created to help support his family. Gofundme.com screen shot LOCAL

Alvarez’s arrest caps off a week of fundraising efforts by the Clovis Unified community to gather reward money and information to find a suspect in Gladding’s killing.

A Crime Stoppers reward fund had grown to more than $23,000 by Friday, though it’s unknown who that money could go to. Gladding’s death was followed by an outpouring of support from the community, and a GoFundMe account thus far has raised more than $16,000 for his family.

“We are so very grateful that a suspect has been identified in the tragic hit and run death of Fort Washington Elementary School GIS Gavin Gladding,” Kelly Avants, Clovis Unified spokesperson, said in a statement Saturday.

“Our thanks go out to the CHP officers involved in the investigation, other law enforcement agencies who assisted, and the many people in our community who provided tips that helped bring this resolution for Gavin’s family. While we know there is still a long road ahead for everyone who loved Gavin, the closure made possible by last night’s arrest and the hard work of our law enforcement partners is invaluable to our healing.”

According to Gladding’s obituary, he is survived by wife Susan and their children: Carter, 10, and Isla, 8.

A graduate of Bullard High and University of California, Santa Barbara, Gladding spent two years serving the Peace Corps, working in The Gambia in West Africa.

He also earned a masters degree in education, and during his career also taught science at Alta Sierra Middle School, and AP Environmental Science at Clovis West High School.

Gladding’s memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Peoples Church in Fresno, located at 7172 N. Cedar Ave. in Fresno, the obituary said.

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