Hetty Chang, Scott Meadows, Kenny Holmes
Authorities identified a 24-year-old man who died after falling out of a party bus on the 101 Freeway this week. The man had been with a group partying at a North Hollywood restaurant before the incident. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2013.
The coroner's office has identified the 24-year-old man who fell out of a party limo bus onto a Southern California freeway and was fatally struck by cars.
Christopher Joseph Saraceno was ejected from a Ford F-550 party limo bus just north of Universal Studios Boulevard and landed on the Hollywood (101) Freeway at 12:15 a.m. Sunday, according to the the California Highway Patrol. He was struck by motorists and died at the scene.
The incident followed a night of partying at a popular North Hollywood bar and sushi restaurant.
Investigators were still not sure how fast the party bus was traveling or how Saraceno came out of the bus.
"The person was ejected from the vehicle -- we don't know exactly how," said CHP Officer Chris Baldonado.
Responding officers found several vehicles parked along the right shoulder of the freeway. The preliminary investigation indicated that all drivers involved in the collision stopped at the location.
The North Hollywood restaurant owner who served Christopher Joseph "CJ" Saraceno and his friends late Saturday night was shocked and saddened to learn the night ended in tragedy.
"Very polite, very nice people," Mario Mira, owner of Tokyo Delves sushi restaurant said of the group of 20 to 30 who had been celebrating a birthday. "They were smiling, having a good time."
Mira also noticed something else about the large party Saraceno was with that night. They were picked up in a much smaller party bus than the bus that initially dropped them off, according to Mira.
"I actually mentioned it to them - they should get a discount for getting a smaller bus," he said. "I noticed people were standing on the limo bus."
The CHP was investigating Monday what caused Saraceno to fall out of the moving bus onto the southbound lanes of 101 Freeway near Universal Studios Boulevard at approximately 12:15 a.m. Sunday.
Saraceno died after several vehicles struck him, according to the CHP. As of late Monday, the CHP declined to release the name of the party bus company.
"One minute he was standing there, the next minute he wasn't," said Christopher Saraceno of his son, whom he describes as a young man who was passionate about life and his job as a brand content strategist for LA-based creative firm NCLUSIVE.
"He was the president of his high school class," said Saraceno, Sr. "He was a salutatorian making a speech. This is an all-American, apple-pie kid that got robbed from us too soon."
Saraceno was celebrating the birthday of his best friend, who was also an employee at the firm. Saraceno may have been reaching for the radio while on the bus, according to friends and family.
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