An aide to LA City Councilman Richard Alarcon, pictured in 2011, has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. The charges with Manuel Figueras come as Alarcon faces prosecution over allegations that he falsely claimed to live in a home in his district.
An aide to Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter after he allegedly hit and killed a homeless man in North Hollywood earlier this year.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said Manuel Figueras, 50, was driving a 2003 Toyota Prius on the evening of March 14 when he struck Gary Woodford, 55. The transient had been crossing Vineland Avenue at Erwin Street.
The DA's office had initially declined to file charges and referred the case to the City Attorney's Office for consideration of misdemeanor charges. But the city office said it had a conflict of interest and returned the case to the DA.
At Figueras' arraignment, scheduled for Sept. 17, prosecutors intend to ask that his bail be set at $25,000. Figueras, a longtime field deputy for Alarcon, faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
The case comes as Alarcon and his wife Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon are in the midst of a criminal prosecution in which they're alleged to have falsely claimed they lived in a home in the councilman's district while living outside of it.
The Alarcons each face multiple felony counts, including for perjury and fraudulent voting.
Alarcon is running for a state Assembly seat representing the 39th District, which covers the northeast San Fernando Valley. He is running against Raul Bocanegra, former chief of staff for Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, who currently represents the district.
Alarcon said in a statement that he was consulting the city's Personnel Department about the appropriate personnel action related to Figueras.
"I would again like to express my deep condolences to the family and friends of Gary Woodford, who died as a result of this accident,'' Alarcon said.
"As Manny's boss and friend, I can attest that he is beloved by the community. Manny has served the people of the Northeast San Fernando Valley for nearly 20 years with distinction, compassion and concern," Alarcon said. "Without further information, I view this as a tragic accident and I am deeply saddened for all involved."