Family wants justice in hit-and-run death of young boy

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A Valley family is asking for justice. It's been more than a year since a driver hit and killed 11-year-old Aaron Arnold. Now, his family wants to know why that driver is only spending a few years in prison for it.

"He wasn't here for a long time, but he had a lot of influence on a lot of people and there were a lot of people that loved him," said Aaron's grandma Gwen Golden.

Chandler police say on June 29, 2012, Aaron was riding his bike across Arizona Avenue near Knox Road, outside of the crosswalk, when he was struck by a pickup truck.

"I would assume most who leave the scene like that leave because something illegal was going on in their vehicle, or why would you leave a child laying on the hot street?" Golden said.

The driver, 25-year-old Ronald Chavez, did eventually turn himself in. But not before ditching his truck and calling his father, a former Chandler police officer.

It turns out Chavez was out on bond for drug charges linked to a major heroin drug bust.

"When you have somebody out on bond on two drug charges already, and they hit and kill somebody, the chances are pretty good they were high when they hit them," Golden said.

But Chavez was not charged with any crimes related to the actual crash. He was only charged with leaving young Aaron dead in the street.

"If he had stayed and helped Aaron, even if that wasn't possible, it just wouldn't cause so much pain to families," Golden said.

She's referring to the sort of pain that this family believes requires a penalty greater than seven years in prison.

"I can't even tell you I pray for Ronald and his family," Golden said. "But Ronald does have the option to come home and Aaron doesn't have that option to come home."

Chavez pleaded guilty to the fatal hit-and-run, which is a class 3 felony. Seven years is the maximum punishment. Still, It's not enough for this grieving family.

"I think if somebody's killed, the law should be tougher on them," Golden said.

Chavez will also be serving five years for the the unrelated drug charges.