Injured La Jolla teen's dad says 'system at fault' for allowing repeat offenders on streets

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

The father of the most seriously injured of three teens struck by a vehicle in Bird Rock on Aug. 15 has raised issues stemming from the incident that he said he believes the community and authorities ought to address.

Alani Aguerre, 14, was still in intensive care on Wednesday but had been taken off the ventilator in her intensive-care room, her father Santiago Aguerre said Tuesday.

Aguerre said he believes “the system is more at fault” here then the alleged perpetrator.

He said he’s been piecing together the story about the man driving the car that struck his daughter.

That man - Ronald Troyer, 66, a transient with a history of drunk driving convictions - is set for a preliminary hearing Oct. 13. Officials are still waiting for results of a blood test administered immediately after the crash.

Troyer has pleaded not guilty to one felony count of reckless driving causing injury and two allegations that he caused great bodily injury to two other people when his car hit three teens on a sidewalk and then crashed through the front of the Cass Street Cafe. No allegations regarding driving under the influence have been filed, pending results of the blood test.

Aguerre, who has been by his daughter’s bedside since she was injured, said something needs to be done to prevent people with a history of drug- and alcohol traffic-related problems from purchasing vehicles.

“In California, you don’t need a driver’s license to register a car in your name,” he said, noting Troyer was driving on a suspended license and had a history of DUIs.

“The law should be like with guns, if you apply to buy a car there should be a 24-hour waiting period if you do not present a valid drivers’license. In the hands of a guy like this, a car is a weapon.”

If the community does not take action to curb vagrant drinking and prevent people with troubled drug and alcohol histories from obtaining cars, he said, “the next time it happens we will all be part of the murder weapon because we didn’t do anything about it.”

Aguerre contends there is “major drinking going on in these parking lots up and down from La Jolla Shores to Mission Beach. ... These guys have moved into these areas where nobody bothers them. The funny thing is no alcohol is allowed on beaches in parks or parking lots. No one is enforcing the law.”

Aguerre added that some of the people frequenting beach parking lots and consuming alcohol there are then driving home intoxicated afterward.

When Troyer returns to court the hearing date could change during a readiness conference on Sept. 28 when “the parties get together with the judge to determine whether everyone’s on track,” said prosecutor David Uyar.

At the preliminary hearing, testimony will enable a judge to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence for the case to go to trial, he added.