Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

What happened to the skateboarder who was hit by DUI suspect in Citrus Heights?

Kelly Cass, skateboarder
Kelly Cass was skateboarding in Citrus Heights when police say she was hit by a suspected DUI driver on Dec. 27, 2018. // Image courtesy, Cristie Cass

Sentinel staff report–
It’s been a little over a year since skateboarder Kelly Cass was nearly killed after she flew through the windshield of a vehicle that hit her while she was skateboarding along Auburn Boulevard in Citrus Heights.

Police say the driver, 28-year-old Angel Diego Huerta, then drove off with her crumpled on the passenger side floor of his vehicle. Police located him nearby after he dumped the vehicle and fled on foot.

From 2018: Citrus Heights Police: DUI suspect hit skateboarder, drove off with her inside

Doctors initially gave Cass a depressing diagnosis, saying she might never walk again. But today, she is walking and active outdoors after what her family calls a miraculous recovery.

Meanwhile, the driver charged with hitting her continues to sit behind bars in the Sacramento County Main Jail, with bail set at $1 million.

Kelly Cass, skateboarder
Kelly Cass, pictured along with her mother and sister in her hospital room a year ago. // Image courtesy, Cristie Cass.

Online court documents indicate Huerta is scheduled to stand trial next month. Charges include felony DUI, felony hit-and-run, violation of parole, driving with a suspended or revoked license, and operating a vehicle not equipped with an interlock device, due to a prior DUI.

Initial charges of kidnapping were dropped shortly after his arrest. Court records show multiple proceedings seeking bail review over the past year, but Huerta’s million-dollar bail has remained unchanged since his arrest.

Cass’s GoFundMe page shows fundraising online recently exceeded $100,000. The most recent update on the page, posted by her family six weeks ago, says she is infection-free and no longer on antibiotics: “A true miracle and blessing, as she was originally told that she would likely have to be on antibiotics for life.”

Cass, who was living in Citrus Heights at the time of the collision on Dec. 27, 2018, has since returned to her hometown in Nevada.

“Looking back a year ago, I wouldn’t have seen this,” Kelly Cass told KOLO-Reno during an interview around Thanksgiving. “I did believe it in my heart that things were going to get back to where they were, but with doctors saying that you’re never going to walk again, it really did get in my head for a minute.”

The video interview shows her walking and progressing in physical therapy. At the time of the latest interview two months ago, she was scheduled to undergo another three surgeries, for drop foot, that would put her back in a wheelchair for 12 weeks.

Kelly’s mother, Cristie Cass, was not able to be reached by The Sentinel this week for an update.

Huerta, the driver accused of hitting Cass, is scheduled for a pre-trial court appearance at the end of this month. A trial has been set for Feb. 6 at 8:45 a.m., at the Lorenzo Patiño Hall of Justice in Sacramento.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)