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Alarcon Aide Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter

Manuel Figueras faces up to a year in jail if convicted for allegedly running down a victim in North Hollywood in March.

A longtime aide to Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon was charged Friday with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for allegedly running down a pedestrian while driving a city vehicle in North Hollywood in March.

Manuel Figueras, 50, is accused in the March 14 death of 55-year-old Gary Woodford, who was struck while crossing Vineland Avenue at Erwin Street about 7:30 p.m.

Figueras is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 17. The District Attorney's Office originally declined to file any charges against Figueras, referring the matter to the city attorney for consideration of misdemeanor charges.

Due to Figueras' job in Alarcon's office, the City Attorney's Office declared a conflict of interest, referring the issue back to the D.A.'s office.

County prosecutors described Woodford as a transient, but the Daily News, citing an obituary notice published in Ohio, reported in March that Woodford worked as a foreman at C&S Propeller in Burbank.

Figueras was driving a city-owned 2003 Toyota Prius when Woodford was struck, according to prosecutors. Police told the Daily News in March that Figueras remained at the scene and had not been drinking.

Prosecutors will ask at Figueras' arraignment that his bail be set at  $25,000. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

Alarcon said he received word of the charge and was taking the situation seriously and consulting the city's Personnel Department about the appropriate personnel action.

"I would again like to express my deep condolences to the family and friends of Gary Woodford, who died as a result of this accident,'' Alarcon said. "As Manny's boss and friend, I can attest that he is beloved by the community. Manny has served the people of the Northeast San Fernando Valley for nearly 20 years with distinction, compassion and concern. "Without further information, I view this as a tragic accident and I am deeply saddened for all involved."

Leah August 20, 2012 at 04:58 PM
It was an accident! A drunk homeless man staggers out into the street into traffic could be hit by anyone. No evidence of intent, speeding, drugs, leaving the scene of the accident, conflicting witness statements, (they had been drinking too). This could have happened to anyone of us driving that car on that night in that place...and would charges be filed against us under the same circumstances? NO! The District Attorney found no reason to charge him. It is because Manny is working for a boss who has charges of improper campaign practices by the City Attorney that he is being singled out. They had to go back and forth with a fine tooth comb to find something in order to "make the case". The city doesn't want to have a lawsuit against them by this homeless man's family that obviously didn't care about him when he was alive. Where were they then?? All they see is $$$$ signs! I have know Manny for over 25 years. He has a heart of gold, would not hurt a fly, and has done so much for the WHOLE North Hollywood area from the South end, Studio City, to the North end, Sun Valley....not mention to his tireless volunteerism with the Los Angeles Police Department, North Hollywood Division in particular. This is just not right. He is being thrown under the bus by a City Attorney who is out for vengeance. I support Manny 100% and hope his name will stop being dragged through the mud.
Alex Daniels October 03, 2012 at 04:29 AM
It it were an "accident" Manny would not have been charged...Leah , youre just a LA City council shill....stop clouding the issues. LAPD is pro union just like all the union bought useless corrupt city council.....Obviously some negligence was present or Mr. Figueras would not have been booked....May justice be served

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