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Fresno County Politician Accused of Mowing Down, Murdering Critic



Rolando Sanchez, a member of the elected Del Rey CSD, is accused of intentionally killing a man. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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A member of a community services district board in Fresno County is accused of killing a man and hit and run.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office arested Rolando Sanchez, 54 of Del Rey, saying he struck 48-year old Jaime Loza, a pedestrian — also from Del Rey — with his car on March 16 around 7 p.m. at the intersection of Carmel and Morro avenues in Del Rey. Investigators say Sanchez left the scene. Loza died five days later on March 21.

Sanchez is a board member of the Del Rey CSD, an elected body that sets utility policies in the Del Rey area.

“Deputies were unable to locate the driver and vehicle responsible for the crash at the scene. However, they developed information of a possible vehicle involved and this being an intentional act,” a sheriff’s news release said.

A department spokesman did not elaborate on why detectives thought the act was intentional.

Sanchez Is in Fresno County Jail

The sheriff’s office sought a black Chevy Tahoe suspected in the hit-and-run. They found Sanchez driving a vehicle fitting the description the following day and arrested him after a traffic stop.

Sanchez remains in jail as of Friday morning. He appeared in court for an arraignment on March 22 but did not enter a plea. The court docket shows he is charged with one count of attempted murder, but that may change with Loza’s death.

Loza frequently attended meetings of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, offering public comment. At one time, Loza shared videos on social media, criticizing law enforcement.

Sanchez attended a meeting of the Del Rey CSD, which was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., on the same evening of the alleged incident. The location of the vehicle collision is about one block away from the district office where the meeting took place.

Jaime Loza spoke to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 24, 2023. (Screenshot)

Colleagues: Surprised at Arrest

“My condolences to the family of both sides,” District manager Carlos Arias told GV Wire. “I don’t know what else to say.”

Neither Arias nor fellow board member Daniel Ramirez noticed anything out of ordinary at the March 16 meeting. Neither witnessed the collision.

“It’s very surprising. He’s come a long way, Rolando. He’s a very gentle person,” Ramirez, the board vice president, told GV Wire. “I can’t judge because I’m not a cop. I’m not a DA … I’m not investigating. I just heard that. I’m just praying for him. I’m praying for both the victim and (Sanchez).”

Ramirez does not believe Sanchez could be capable of homicide.

“He’s a very nice guy. I mean, he’s polite. I’ve never seen him violent,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said he knew Loza, describing him as “a violent, very angry man.”

Sanchez was appointed to the board in December 2020 by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors by a 5-0 vote to fill a vacancy. His seat is up for re-election in November 2024.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email