It'll be eight years at the most for Steven Robert Hernandez Jr. when he is sentenced later this month for taking off after he ran over two people and killed one of them last year on Winding Way.
William Collins, the 58-year-old Carmichael man who survived the March 22, 2012, catastrophe, grumbled about there being a prosecutor's agreement.
Collins concluded, however, that the amount of time Hernandez gets won't be of huge consequence to his own sense of loss of his friend, Paul Pellandini, and to his ongoing recovery from the serious injuries he incurred.
"Basically, the bottom line is, it doesn't really matter if he gets six years or eight years or whatever," Collins said in an interview Tuesday. "It's not going to bring my friend back. I just have to come to terms with that."
Collins used to be a cable contractor. Now he can't get through a day without hurting somewhere in his body that was badly fractured, almost from head to toe.
His injury sheet showed a concussion, two fractured vertebrae, five broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a broken pelvis, a broken tailbone and a fractured right femur. Doctors needed to jam a steel rod into his right leg from his hip to his knee.
"It hurts every day," Collins said. "Everything hurts. I'm pretty much screwed for life. But I'm alive, and at least I'm walking, so I'm happy with that."
Pellandini, 57, a motorcycle mechanic with a minister's certificate, died shortly after the 5:45 p.m. accident in front of his home in the 4500 block of Winding Way, just west of Pasadena Avenue.
The night of the wreck, Collins said he was driving down Winding Way when he saw his friend out in front of his house. Collins stopped to talk with Pellandini for about 15 minutes, then was heading back to his truck. Pellandini followed him, and the two stood and chatted some more next to Collins' truck, in the street, when a vehicle smashed into them and left without stopping.
Hernandez, 39, wasn't arrested until July 29, when Sacramento police pulled him over on Del Paso Boulevard near Eleanor Avenue in a car reported by his own brother to be stolen. California Highway Patrol investigator David Longo interviewed Hernandez the night of the arrest and testified at the defendant's preliminary hearing in February that Hernandez admitted to the hit-and-run.
Longo testified that Hernandez said he was headed west on Winding Way at about 35 mph when the cellphone he was balancing on his right leg beeped with a text message and fell to the floor.
"He reached down to grab the cellphone," Longo said, and "his vehicle veered over to the right and struck two people."
Hernandez said he panicked and fled, Longo testified.
Sacramento Superior Court online records show that Hernandez has had a few problems over the past 21 years.
He's been to prison twice in the past 10 years for possession of methamphetamine for sale. He's also been convicted twice for stealing cars, another time for meth and twice in the early '90s for driving under the influence.
His drug and driving history suggest he might have been under the influence when he ran down Pellandini and Collins, but Supervising Deputy District Attorney Rod Norgaard said there was no way prosecutors could prove he was on anything. Nor was there any evidence he was speeding or otherwise driving in a grossly negligent manner, Norgaard said.
Prosecutors, then, were left with a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, two felony counts of hit-and-run (one for each victim) and Hernandez's two prison priors.
He pleaded no contest to all of it on May 24 in front of Judge Delbert W. Oros.
Now he faces the eight-year sentence.
"That's the max," Norgaard said.
Hernandez's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Joni O'Connor, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
William Collins said he plans to attend Hernandez's 8:30 a.m. Sacramento Superior Court sentencing June 21 in Department 61.
"The problem is, if they put me on the stand, it might not be too good I might get sent in there with him," Collins said. "I'm not really happy with him."
Collins said "I have my highs and lows here, but I'll still go on, and he'll be back on the street some day, and maybe a truck will run over him. You never know."
Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.