Hit-and-run driver arraigned


Santa Clara resident Cecil Wayne Cox shuffled into the courtroom wearing red jail garb and thick prescription glasses. He has been charged with two felony counts of hit-and-run accident resulting in death, one felony count of vehicular manslaughter and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors allege that he drove his 1994 Infiniti sedan through the crosswalk of Stevens Creek Boulevard and Cypress Avenue and struck San Jose residents Enedina Oliva, 70, and Oralia Puga-Ramirez, 73.

Police believe Cox was driving west on Stevens Creek Boulevard when the vehicle struck the victims around 8:20 p.m., Santa Clara police Sgt. Kurt Clarke said.

Puga-Ramirez landed on the hood of the car, according to police. Clarke said they believe Cox drove for about 400 yards, then slowed, extended his arm from the window and pushed her from the vehicle.

Police believe he then ran over her again and continued driving away from the victims, Clarke said.

The felony count of vehicular manslaughter is for the act of pushing Puga-Ramirez from the car's hood, district attorney spokeswoman Amy Cornell said.

A spokeswoman for the Oliva family said today outside the courtroom that if Cox had stayed after hitting the women she would have been able to forgive him, but she will never forgive him for pushing Puga-Ramirez from the car and driving away.

Oliva and Puga-Ramirez were taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center where they died, Clarke said.

Cox was arrested Monday morning at the Santa Clara City Library, Clarke said. City Librarian Karen Saunders said one of her staff members saw Cox's picture in the paper and recognized him as a patron of the library.

Saunders said she and the staff member took the morning paper into the parking garage where they confirmed that Cox's sedan was in the lot by comparing his license plate number with the one listed in the paper. They then called police.

Puga-Ramirez's daughter said outside the courthouse that her mother was a very religious woman, a Catholic, and that she would have forgiven Cox.

"I know my mother is in heaven, she will forgive him as we do," she said.

Cox is scheduled to enter a plea Aug. 18 in the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice.

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