Local News

Tuesday, Dec 11 2012 11:54 AM

Suspect in high-speed chase kills daughter of Kern County firefighter in crash

BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

The 2-year-old daughter of a Kern County firefighter was killed and her mother seriously injured last week when a motorist led police on a high-speed chase and crashed into the victims' car in Antelope Valley.

Madison Ruano, the daughter of Mike Ruano, was killed in the crash, according to Kern County Fire officials. Tina Ruano, the wife of Mike Ruano, suffered serious injuries including a broken vertebrae and faces a long recovery.

The Associated Press reported that Marvin Travon Hicks, 45, of Palmdale, has been charged with murder and evading an officer causing injury in connection with Thursday's crash. Hicks pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon and is being held on $1.1 million bail.

The district attorney's office says Hicks drove at speeds up to 100 mph as he tried to flee deputies, according to The Associated Press.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19, the AP reported. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Kern County Fire spokesman Sean Collins said Tuesday that Ruano is a seasonal firefighter and has been with the department for three years. As a seasonal employee, he works full-time for about nine months beginning in May, then has three months off.

A seasonal employee does not receive the same medical benefits as other full-time county firefighters. A fund has been set up to help pay for funeral and medical expenses, Collins said.

Mike Ruano was working with a fire crew battling at fire in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado at the time of the crash, Collins said.

"The one thing that I guess I am aware of is that he and his wife have a lot of family ..." Collins said, adding that those family members include police officers and deputies from outside the county who will provide support.

Donations can be made to the Ruano family through www.youcaring.com, Baby Madison Ruano or http://www.youcaring.com/Donate.aspx?FRID=36656.

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