A 20-year-old man walking home from work on a sidewalk in Spring Valley was struck by an SUV and killed today, but the fleeing driver left behind a license plate that led to his arrest, a CHP officer said.
Jason Michael Palmer, 33, of Spring Valley, was arrested for suspicion of felony hit and run and felony manslaughter in connection with the fatal crash, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Pearlstein.
Alcohol and/or drugs appeared to have been a factor in the crash, the officer added.
Palmer allegedly veered a borrowed 2008 Toyota 4Runner onto the sidewalk and over the pedestrian as the pedestrian was walking on the north side of Campo Road near North Cordoba Avenue around 3:45 a.m, then sped away, Pearlstein said.
However, the SUV's front license plate was left behind, according to the officer.
California Highway Patrol officers and fire personnel confirmed the pedestrian's death "due to obvious fatal injuries," the Medical Examiner's Office reported. His name was withheld pending family notification.
Investigators traced the suspect vehicle's license plate to one of Palmer's relatives, Pearlstein said.
Pearlstein said that officers tried to call Palmer, but he hung up.
The 4Runner turned up around 9:30 a.m., parked near Interstate 805 and Aero Drive, Pearlstein said. The blue SUV was found with a broken windshield and extensive front end damage, CBS8 reported.
As officers were processing the SUV, Palmer was spotted in a passing vehicle, which drive off. Officers located him a short time later by "pinging" his cell phone, Pearlstein said.
Palmer was arrested without further incident and the damaged 4Runner's keys were found in his pocket, the officer said.
Palmer was booked for suspicion of felony manslaughter and hit and run, and additional charges could be added at the conclusion of the investigation, Pearlstein said. Nearby businesses were being checked for relevant surveillance footage, he said.
Campo Road was closed between North Granada and North Cordoba avenues following the crash.—City News Service