Pedestrian killed in Grover Beach hit-and-run identified

August 30, 2016
Juli Anna Conn

Juli Anna Conn

Grover Beach police have identified the pedestrian killed in a hit-and-run Saturday night as Juli Anna Conn, 59, of Atascadero. Police have also identified Steven Lee Stapleton, 54, of Atascadero as the man who was critically injured in the collision.

Emergency personnel pronounced Conn dead at the scene. Stapleton was transported to a local hospital, where he remains in the intensive care unit.

At around 9:55 p.m., a dark colored sedan with tinted windows struck Conn and Stapleton near the intersection of Grand Avenue and 7th Street in Grover Beach. Officers responded to the scene and found Conn and Stapleton lying on Grand Avenue.

Steven Lee Stapleton

Steven Lee Stapleton

Witnesses at the scene identified Arroyo Grande resident Zachary David Diaz, 20, as the hit-and-run driver. Grover Beach police tracked Diaz’s car to Arroyo Grande and arrested him early Sunday morning.

Police charged Diaz with felony vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run causing death. Officers booked Diaz into the San Luis Obispo County Jail with his bail set at $50,000. He is no longer in custody, according to the county sheriff’s office website.


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13 Comments

  1. Pelican1 says:

    Based solely on the incident involving the negligent death of one person AND the critical injuries to a second person, AND the fact that he didn’t stop, OR render any kind of help or assistance his bail should have been much higher or no bail at all.
    His behavior trumps any children, community ties, fixed residence, local employment, etc.

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
  2. Indy thinker says:

    $50 bucks says Diaz hires Funke-Bilu who will try to plea down the charges or go to trial and put the pedestrians at fault. Just like that Freitas case years ago!

    (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
  3. Rambunctious says:

    If you flee it goes from manslaughter to homicide. Just like a DWI.

    (11) 15 Total Votes - 13 up - 2 down
    • SLO_Johnny says:

      Manslaughter is a degree of homicide and fleeing after striking a pedestrian from an accident doesn’t turn an accident into a crime. The felony crime is leaving the scene of an accident where someone has been seriously injured.

      (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
  4. SLOBIRD says:

    $50,000 bail for killing and then fleeing the scene without even considering the other victim seems kind of minimal IMO…

    (21) 27 Total Votes - 24 up - 3 down
    • SLO_Johnny says:

      Bail is not a punishment. It is intended to coerce the defendant into returning to the court for trial and to not leave the court’s jurisdiction. The amount of bail is dependent on a number of factors. Most important are long term ties to the community, local ties to family (especially minor children), a fixed residence, local employment, financial ability, and previous criminal record.

      (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
      • Pelican1 says:

        Based solely on the incident involving the negligent death of one person AND the critical injuries to a second person, AND the fact that he didn’t stop, OR render any kind of help or assistance his bail should have been much higher or no bail at all.
        His behavior trumps any children, community ties, fixed residence, local employment, etc.

        (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  5. SloTownMan says:

    I sincerely hope Diaz is wearing an electronic anklet so they can track his sorry behind. Why oh why would they let the AH out?

    (25) 31 Total Votes - 28 up - 3 down
  6. SLO_Johnny says:

    They were struck “Near” the intersection Grand Ave and 7th St.? What does “Near the intersection” mean? Were they crossing at the intersection or not? Were they jaywalking?

    (-7) 27 Total Votes - 10 up - 17 down
    • kayaknut says:

      My thought is the point of where they were crossing would only be an issue had the driver who struck them stopped, but when the driver left his actions became the main issue and that is leaving the scene of an accident. The driver will have a hard time explaining anything since he left, had he stopped he might have had a chance if in fact they were jaywalking or came out from between parked cars or such, but that went out the door when he drove off.

      (16) 22 Total Votes - 19 up - 3 down
      • SLO_Johnny says:

        Hit and run following an injury accident is a felony to be sure. The only remaining question is, was the defendant driving recklessly or violating any traffic laws when the pedestrians were struck? If he was then hitting them was a criminal act. If not, it was an accident.

        (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down

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