A Los Angeles man was charged with driving under the influence and other crimes related to a New Year’s Day crash that hurt an Uber driver and critically injured four passengers, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Michael Steward Forno of Los Angeles pleaded not guilty during his arraignment yesterday afternoon. A preliminary hearing for case BA464023 was scheduled for Jan. 17 in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
Forno is charged with one count each of driving under the influence of alcohol; causing bodily injury to another person while having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more; hit and run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person; and hit and run driving resulting in property damage. The charges include special allegations of causing great bodily injury to more than one victim while driving under the influence.
Forno was driving a 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL450 when he allegedly rear-ended a vehicle just north of Hollywood Boulevard on Jan. 1. Prosecutors further allege that he fled the scene in his car, hitting a 2007 Toyota Prius driven by an Uber driver who was transporting four passengers less than a mile away at Vista Street and Melrose Avenue. The Uber driver and passengers were taken to a local hospital.
Forno faced a maximum sentence of 14 years, and 2 months in state prison. Bail was set at $330,000.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department West Traffic and Wilshire divisions.