Authorities have long suspected Pedro Gaspar Tellado Oviedo drove the truck that hit and dragged Aaron Horsley a block, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, back in October 2007.

But Oviedo fled the state, according to sources, heading for Florida. But at some point, he returned to Southern California and was arrested in Los Angeles County on May 25, accused of selling marijuana and passing bad checks.

Authorities entered Oviedo into the system at booking and discovered his outstanding hit and run warrant in San Bernardino County, and he was handed off to officials in the High Desert.

"Every once in a while, [the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office] calls us, to see how [Aaron's] doing," said Horsley's mother Marilyn on Friday. When they called on June 5, it was someone new: Deputy District Attorney Tim Haskell was calling to say he'd been handed Oviedo's case, and that he was having his first pre-trial hearing in a matter of days. "'Are you kidding me?'"

"My mom calls me and asks 'are you sitting down?'" Horsley said dryly from his wheelchair. "'No, mom.'"

Horsley, who still has gaps in his memory of the day he was dragged down Redwood Avenue, came face to face with the man accused of putting him in the wheelchair for the first time on June 11, as Oviedo's pre-trial hearing.

"I would stare at him and he'd make eye contact [for a second] and look away," said Horsley.

Oviedo faces five years in prison if convicted of the hit and run charge, along with potential sentences for his drug and bad check charges. Prior to the Horsleys being contacted, the district attorney's office had offered him a reduced sentence of four years and four months if he pled guilty. Oviedo turned the deal down and Horsley asked Haskell to take the case to trial.

In the meantime, Oviedo sits in jail, with bail set at $750,000.

"Just him getting in prison," Horsley said, "Yeah, it's going to be pretty good."

Oviedo's next court appearance will be his arraignment on Tuesday, June 16, in Victorville Superior Court.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.