The California Highway Patrol said Sunday that it would seek vehicular manslaughter charges against the suspect in a Carmichael hit-and-run case after one of the victims, Harison Long-Randall, died Sunday.
Long-Randall, 21, and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Gemily West, were walking back home with her four dogs around 10 p.m. July 16 when a vehicle believed to be a 1987 Nissan Maxima plowed into them. Witnesses said Long-Randall stepped in to shield his girlfriend from the car.
Long-Randall's leg was severed upon impact. West was seriously injured; she was released from the hospital Tuesday.
The suspect in the case, Paul Wil-liam Walden, 31, of North Highlands, was arraigned last week in court on nine counts, including felony hit-and-run and cruelty to animals.
CHP spokeswoman Lizz Dutton said Sunday afternoon that investigators would seek to add vehicular manslaughter counts today, after discussing the case with the district attorney.
"The fact that he died means we can seek manslaughter charges," Dutton said.
Mercy San Juan Medical Center spokeswoman Melissa Jue confirmed Long-Randall's death Sunday. Dutton said he died overnight.
West's mangled right leg needed 42 staples to close the wounds.
Trevor West, her brother, also confirmed Long-Randall's death and said his family was distraught.
West said the Long-Randall family was in seclusion as they tried to deal with this latest shock and needed time to grieve privately.
It already had been a very emotional two weeks for everyone involved, West said. Friends and family had hoped Long-Randall would be able to recover, after undergoing a seven-hour surgery two days after the crash.
Authorities said Walden was driving on a suspended license when the CHP arrested him July 19.
Walden has a history of run-ins with the law. Sacramento Superior Court records indicate that he had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence at least three times.
The suspect has made two court appearances, but has entered no plea.
He was ordered to appear again in court Aug. 29.
Walden was allegedly driving 80 mph on the two-way residential street, and never stopped after hitting the couple and the four dogs in the crosswalk at Engle Road and Garfield Avenue, witnesses said.
"We couldn't move out of the way fast enough," Gemily West told The Bee last week.
In past years, Sacramento has ranked among the worst cities in the state for crashes involving fatalities and injuries.
Sacramento County ranks third in the state for hit-and-run crashes.
The case has generated much attention in the community and nationwide.
Donations of more than $14,000 have been collected for the victims and their families, with some checks mailed from out-of-state.