A hit-and-run crash on a mountain highway in eastern San Diego County left a 29-year-old man dead near Santa Ysabel and sent California Highway Patrol officers searching for the driver of a damaged SUV found abandoned more than 15 miles from the fatal crash site, police said Thursday.
The victim was struck about 8 p.m. Wednesday while walking on state Route 79 south of Mesa Grande Road north of Santa Ysabel, a mountain town about seven miles northwest of Julian, CHP Officer Travis Garrow said. Investigators determined the victim was walking in the northbound lane of the highway when he was struck by the northbound SUV.
The driver of that vehicle, later found to be a silver 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe, fled the scene, Garrow said.
“The Hyundai was located hours later … disabled and left abandoned on the right shoulder of SR-79 north of Fink Road … about 17 miles north of the collision scene,” Garrow said.
As of about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the Hyundai’s driver had not been located. The name of the 29-year-old victim was not released pending notification of his family.
Investigators believe the Hyundai SUV was the only vehicle involved in the crash but do not know if drugs or alcohol were factors, Garrow said.
The fatal hit-and-run collision happened about 45 minutes after a 59- year-old man was killed while walking on the same highway about 25 miles to the north near Warner Springs. The driver involved in that crash stayed at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI.
Any witnesses or anyone with information about the deadly hit-and-run crash near Santa Ysabel was urged to call the CHP’s El Cajon office at (619) 401-2000.
—City News Service
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