East Bay

Driver Who Allegedly Killed Woman in Hit-and-Run Faces Victim's Family in Court

The driver accused of killing a 65-year-old woman while running from police faced a judge and his victim's family in an East Bay court Thursday morning. 

The 26-year-old driver, Aroldo Vela Chavez of Concord, is charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter and evading police for the Tuesday incident, which claimed the life of Pittsburg resident Linda Cochran. 

Cochran had been taking her regular morning walk, according to family friends, along West Leland Road near Delta View Golf Course in Pittsburg when Vela-Chavez mowed her down, according to police. 

Vela-Chavez was driving with a suspended license while on probation for a August 2015 DUI arrest, at which time his blood-alcohol content had been three times the legal limit, police said.

Cochran's family told NBC at the courthouse that they are still processing what happened. Jay Cochran, Linda's husband, said he waited nearly three hours for the suspect to arrive in court. He said he wanted to look him in the eye.

"He didn't see Linda's face [when he hit her]," Cochran said. "He's going to see Linda's face time and time again." 

At the time of her death, Linda was the primary caregiver for two of their five adult children, who are disabled, according to Jay. 

The couple had five children together. At the time of her death, Linda was a primary caregiver for 2 of who her husband says are disabled. 

"I think his bad decisions should have consequences too," Cochran said. "I am here to make sure that there is as much justice as we can get, and put him behind bars as long as possible." 

Vela-Chavez did not enter a plea and will be arraigned next Thursday. In the meantime, he's being held on a $1.5 million bail. 

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