The driver in an Oceanside hit-and-run crash that killed an active-duty Marine should not have been behind the wheel, a rental car clerk told NBC 7.
Ezequiel Garcia, 30, was driving a rented cargo van on an expired license during the fatal crash, according to a employee at Budget Car and Truck Rentals.
Oceanside Police say Thursday morning, Garcia pulled out of parking lot and tried to make an illegal U-turn onto Douglas Drive. But as he turned, he collided with a motorcycle driven by 22-year-old Marine Brandon Bizzarro.
"It's just...it was horrid, it was just terrible,” said Kim Campos, who drove up to the crash after Bizzarro was airlifted away.
Garcia immediately took off from the scene, investigators say, and tried to return the van to Budget Rentals a few miles away.
The clerk told NBC 7 Garcia came in “panicked” and said, “Somebody just hit me.”
The vehicle had been rented to a woman because Garcia’s license was expired, so he was not supposed to be driving it, the employee said.
She advised him to go back to the scene, which he did. Police took him to their headquarters and subsequently booked him into jail for felony hit-and-run.
He will be arraigned on the charge Tuesday.
"Had he not left the scene, in all likelihood, he would not have been charged with hit and run,” said OPD Lt. Leonard Cosby. “The law requires you to stay in the event of an injury to check on the welfare of the driver to exchange information. He did not do that."
Bizzarro was placed on life support when he arrived at the hospital, but by Thursday afternoon, he had died.
Campos said she knew something serious had happened, based on the aftermath.
"I could tell just by all the glass and stuff that was on the road and the way that motorcycle was facing the opposite way, so I just didn't know it was a Marine at the time, and then when I found out, it really touched my heart,” she said.