A Cal State San Marcos nursing student who fatally hit a pedestrian on a Rancho Peñasquitos offramp last October and left the scene pled guilty to felony hit-and-run Tuesday.
Prosecutors note that Nicoll Koval, 23, could be behind bars for up to four years or get off with probation, when she is sentenced June 3.
The man Koval struck, Albert Holman, had been celebrating his 34th birthday with his sister when he abandoned his car with a pair of flat tires nearby after striking something on the road. Witnesses claimed Holman was walking along the edge of state Route 56 just east of the Black Mountain Road offramp sometime after 1 a.m. on Oct. 19.
According to Koval’s attorney, Michael McGlinn, his client wasn’t aware of what she hit and surrendered some 12 hours later when she realized that she had been involved in a fatal accident.
A license-plate holder for a Nissan was discovered at the accident scene and when officers went to Koval’s home—approximately two minutes from the crash site—they discovered a 2008 Nissan Sentra with significant front-end damage. The car also had a caved-in windshield and one of the victim’s shoes was discovered in the undercarriage of Koval’s car.
“She did not stop,” the prosecutor stated. “It is our opinion that she, in fact, should have stopped. Not stopping is a crime.”
Earlier documents indicate an empty can of malt liquor was discovered inside Koval’s car.
According to court documents, Koval “… did not use cell phone to call 911.”
Following the hit-and-run, Koval drove her car to her Rancho Penasquitos home, and one neighbor told a local television station at the time about what he heard next door.
Neighbor Jorge Navarro claimed, “I was awakened by crying, and then, ‘Dad, dad, it was not my fault …'”
According to Navarro, Koval went inside and then came out and walked in the direction of Black Mountain Road. Court documents indicate Koval went to the crash site, but turned around and walked back home. Once she returned home, Koval reportedly “used her computer to access the CHP traffic incident Web site, witnessed her accident and still did not make any attempt to report her involvement.”
Authorities have never said whether or not they believe the victim walked out into the path of Koval’s car or not, possibly putting her in a situation where she could not avoid him.
Authorities also believe Koval’s car was likely the first of two that hit Holman, killing him instantly. The victim’s body was mangled nearly beyond recognition when officers arrived on the scene. Between 2:30-3 a.m., a driver had to swerve to avoid hitting the victim’s body in the road, according to the prosecution.
While I applaud Koval for admitting her guilt and accepting whatever punishment is to come, it is hard to fathom how she could not have known she hit another person on that night.
Perhaps the empty malt liquor can found in the vehicle explains to a large degree why things happened the way they did that fateful night.