Hicks charged with murder in pursuit-crash death of 2-year-old girl


Hicks allegedly led L.A. County Sheriff's deputies on a high-speed pursuit Thursday at about 5 p.m. Hicks was allegedly driving west on Avenue I when he crashed into another vehicle, killing 2-year-old Madison Ruano and seriously injuring her mother, Tina Ruano.

Hicks was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon on one count each of murder and felony evading an officer causing an injury. Prosecutors planned to ask that Hicks be held on $1.1 million bond.

If convicted Hicks faces up to life in prison.

Investigators say Hicks, a Palmdale resident, was on the wrong side of the street when the crash happened near 10th Street West and Avenue I shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday.

Sheriff's investigators say the chase began when Hicks failed to pull over after running a red light on Sierra Highway. Authorities say deputies chased Hicks' black Toyota, which ran multiple red lights, at times even heading the wrong way, and going at speeds of up to 100 mph.

Hicks was driving west on Avenue I when he struck the victims' Lexus as it headed north on 10th Street West. Both cars were totaled.

The girl, her mother and Hicks were all transported to Antelope Valley Hospital, where Madison later died. Ruano remained hospitalized as of midday Friday but was expected to make a full recovery.

Hicks was released from the hospital and sent to jail to be held on $1 million bond. He faces felony charges of fleeing police and vehicular manslaughter. According to police records, Hicks was arrested for reckless driving and driving under the influence in 1995. He was also charged with hit-and-run in 2005.

Officials said it was not immediately clear if drugs or alcohol were involved in the collision. Local residents placed flowers, balloons and stuffed animals at the scene of the crash in a makeshift memorial.

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