San Diego man pleads not guilty to murder, DUI, in toddler’s death

Posted at 4:52 PM, September 30, 2022 and last updated 9:00 PM, May 11, 2023

By City News Service

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A man accused of driving under the influence, fatally striking a toddler in San Diego, then fleeing the scene, pleaded not guilty Friday to murder and other charges.

Margarito Vargas Angeles, 45, was arrested Saturday evening, almost three hours after the traffic fatality that killed Annaleeh Rodarte, who family members said was about 19-months-old.

Annaleeh Rodarte (family photo)

Angeles faces a second-degree murder count — which carries a potential 15-year-to-life prison term — due to a misdemeanor San Diego County DUI conviction from 2016.

He’s also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI, hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license.

Police said Angeles sped off after the 1999 Toyota 4Runner he was driving struck the girl. Paramedics took the child to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

A witness provided officers with the suspect’s license plate number, and they tracked down Angeles and took him into custody, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Angeles remains held without bail following his Friday morning arraignment and is due back in court next week.

This story was originally published Sept. 30, 2022 by KGTV in San Diego, an E.W. Scripps Company.