Hit-and-run suspect back in jail; 9-year-old Ryan White improving 

A Hayward man charged with severely injuring a 9-year-old Pennsylvania boy in a hit-and-run accident last week was ordered back into custody by a judge Thursday.

Judge Nancy Davis agreed with a request by prosecutors to raise bail for 21-year-old Andrew Vargas from $65,000 to $465,000, based on what Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai described as Vargas’ "reckless and irresponsible actions," including allegedly trying to elude police upon his return to Hayward after the crash.

Vargas is accused of driving a pickup truck down a one-way street, ignoring a red light, and plowing into Ryan White, who was crossing- the intersection of Mission and New Montgomery streets at about 10:30 p.m. Aug. 4.

In court Thursday, a stone-faced Vargas pleaded not guilty to felony charges of drunken driving and hit-and-run, as well as driving with an open container.

White, who had been with his family attending that night’s Giants game against the Philadelphia Phillies, was critically injured and is now recovering at San Francisco General Hospital.

His condition has since been upgraded to serious, and he is expected to be moved to a hospital in Pennsylvania soon to begin rehabilitation, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.

"His recovery has begun," she said.

In his bail argument, the prosecutor alleged that after fleeing the scene and arriving home in Hayward, Vargas saw officers outside his apartment and tried to get away before he was arrested.

Talai said that act "was arguably more defiant" than fleeing the hit-and-run. Vargas had a blood-alcohol level of between 0.13 and 0.15, he said.

Vargas’ attorney, Randall Knox, said his client had never been arrested or had any driving infractions, had just graduated from Cal State East Bay and was enrolled in graduate school.

Prior to the hearing, Knox managed to slip Vargas into the courtroom through a side door, avoiding the media gathered outside. Inside, Vargas was cuffed by sheriff’s deputies and led to a jail cell, as members of his family and friends looked on.

Knox told reporters that Vargas is remorseful and "ashamed of how he acted."

"This is a horrible tragedy for both families," he said.


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