The Tribunal Penal de San José (San Jose Criminal Court) confirmed on Monday that the driver running over and killing Venezuelan athlete David Gabriel Yanes Pacheco, while running the San Jose Media Marathon, on Sunday, October 22, will remain at liberty.

The drunk driver was detained some six blocks from where he struck the athlete. David Gabriel Yanes Pacheco died in hospital moments after being struck, the driver a free man less than 24 hours later.

The decision was made known at 4:30 pm Monday following a private hearing in which the Ministerio Publico insisted, 26-year-old Blandón Hernández, who was driving drunk on the morning of the incident, should be in preventive detention, that is jail while awaiting trial.

The Court, however, the fact that the accused has a steady job and family ties, living with his relatives in La Union de Cartago said “it did not consider it convenient” to change the previous measures, that is being free, sign in at the Court office every 15 days, maintain a fixed address and not leave the country.

Lawyer Luis Cubillo Pacheco, representing the victim’s family, regretted the decision of the Court and assured he will be vigilant throughout the entire process, and that the person involved complies with the measures.

The lawyer was hired by the victim’s family on their arrival in Costa Rica, saying they will see this through to the very end.

The incident occurred at 6:40 am of that Sunday morning on the south side of the Nicaragua park, located in front of the Zapote church.

Yanes was running second in the competition when the drunk driver overshot the line of vehicles stopped by the traffic police to allow runners to cross the intersection. Yanes was hit by a car driven by Blandon Hernandez. Moments later he died in hospital.

The vehicle and driver were stopped by the traffic police some 600 meters (6 blocks) from the incident and Blandon Hernandez was arrested.

By Monday morning, less than 24 hours, the accused was a free man.

The Ministerio Public appealed the Court’s no preventive detention decision.


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