Washoe County Announcement

Maximum Sentence Secured
District Attorney Announces Sentencing in Fatal Hit and Run Prosecution

Media Release
For Immediate Release
www.washoecounty.us/da

Contact: Michelle Bays
mbays@da.washoecounty.us
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)

The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has announced that a recent prosecution for failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving death has resulted in the securing of a 20 year prison sentence. The sentence represents the maximum penalty for this charge, which was recently increased to match the sentence for driving under the influence causing death. Prior to the change made by the 2015 legislature, the maximum penalty for “Hit and Run” involving death was 15 years.  

Joseph Zane Vilardi, 26, from Washoe Valley pled guilty in August to one count of Failure to Stop at the Scene of a Crash Involving Death. He was sentenced last Thursday to 20 years in prison, with parole eligibility after 6 years. Vilardi was identified by the Reno Police Department (RPD) as the driver of a vehicle that hit and killed a 32 years old male pedestrian on January 4, 2017 in the area of Pueblo Street and Holcomb Avenue in Reno. Investigators with the RPD Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) were able to determine that Vilardi had been traveling from the Cal Neva when he struck the victim with enough force to propel the man over his car and onto the eastbound travel lane behind him.  Witnesses were able to provide additional information about Vilardi’s failure to stop and he was located and arrested a few days later. 

During sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Travis Lucia argued that Vilardi was apprehended 8 days after the crash, only after RPD MAIT investigators tracked him down and located his damaged vehicle. DDA Lucia also stated Vilardi had a prior misdemeanor conviction for a similar offense, justifying the highest possible sentence.