Paso Robles man convicted of hit-and-run resulting in death

March 28, 2024

Christopher Winters


A San Luis Obispo County jury on Wednesday convicted a Paso Robles man of felony hit-and-run resulting in death for running over a pedestrian whom another vehicle had already struck and then fleeing the scene.

On July 3, 2021, shortly after 1:30 a.m., a caller reported a gray vehicle had crashed into a pedestrian near the intersection of Meadowlark Road and Deer Springs Drive in Paso Robles. Shortly afterwards, the witness called back to report a second vehicle — a dark colored BMW — ran over the pedestrian. The witness reported both drivers fled the scene.

Emergency personnel arrived and pronounced the pedestrian, 22-year-old Steve Leon, dead at the scene.

Officers located the driver of the black BMW, Christopher Winters, now 35, and arrested him on a charge of hit-and-run resulting in death or injury. The BMW contained evidence of being involved in the collision, according to the Paso Robles Police Department.

Prosecutors charged Winters with a felony count of hit-and-run resulting in death and a misdemeanor count of driving without a valid license. 

During this month’s trial, both the prosecution and defense agreed Winters’ vehicle ran over Leon the second time he was struck, and DNA evidence proves it. 

The prosecution argued Leon was still alive and moaning after the first car struck him. Leon stopped moaning once Winter’s car ran over him, according to testimony from neighbors. 

About 10 minutes before running over Leon, surveillance film caught Winters leaving Pine Street Saloon, where he was believed to have been drinking with friends, according to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office.

Following the collision, Winters texted a friend, “I went back and everything is good. It was a deer already hit. Sleep good. I just have front end damage to replace.”

Prosecutors said he was lying to cover his tracks.

The defense argued the pedestrian was dead after the first car ran over him and that testimony from neighbors was not reliable because they witnessed the crash from far away. 

Jurors entered deliberations on Tuesday. The jury had to consider whether Winters had reason to believe he ran over a person at the time of the crash.

Winters now faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 23 in the courtroom of Judge Michael Frye.

Investigators never identified the driver of the first vehicle that struck Leon. 


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Local auto body repair shops should be on the lookout for suspicious vehicle damage.

And why was it so easy for police to ID the second guy and not the first guy?

A black BMW is a lot easier to identify and find than a “gray car” of unknown make. Too bad the witness could not provide more information about the first car -sedan? Two-door? SUV? But when a tragic accident like this occurs, it’s easy to be shocked and thus not note more details.