Image of Vehicle Released in Fullerton Hit-and-Run That Killed Man in Wheelchair

The victim, thrown more than 150 feet from the wheelchair, was involved in at least two other motor vehicle collisions, according to police

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Surveillance footage from the scene of a deadly hit-and-run in Fullerton Monday morning shows a light-colored vehicle striking a disabled man who had been hit before at the same intersection. Vikki Vargas reports from Fullerton for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    A man in a wheelchair was struck and thrown about 150 feet in a hit-and-run Tuesday morning as he tried to cross a Fullerton street where residents said there have been several close calls involving pedestrians.

    The victim, believed to be in his 60s, was crossing the middle of the street in the 2600 block of East Orangethorpe Avenue near Vine Avenue just before midnight when a vehicle traveling westbound on Orangethorpe hit him and drove off. The victim was ejected about 150 to 170 feet from the wheelchair and landed in the street.

    He was not crossing at a controlled intersection or crosswalk and died at the scene, police said. 

    Police said the victim’s blood-alcohol level was four times the legal limit.

    Witness Saw Hit-and-Run Victim in Street

    [LA] Witness Saw Wheelchair, Hit-and-Run Victim in Street
    Residents and witnesses talk about the man killed a hit-and-run crash Tuesday in Fullerton. Surveillance video from a nearby business showed sparks flying from the wheelchair as it was dragged on the street. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Tuesday Aug. 19, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    Surveillance video from a nearby business showed sparks flying from the wheelchair as it was dragged on the street. Rebecca Benhumea, a cashier at a liquor store, told NBC4 she heard the crash and ran outside.

    "It sounded like a car crash, but I didn't see a car," Benhumea said. "I looked around and I saw something on the (street). It was him."

    The victim, a regular customer at the liquor store, had several previous close calls involving vehicles on the same street, said Benhumea.  Police confirmed that the victim was involved in a similar crash at the same location March 3 and another collision in Buena Park in March 2008.

    "This was not the first time he was hit, on this same street in this same spot," said Benhumea.

    Man in Wheelchair Killed in Hit-and-RuN

    [LA] Man in Wheelchair Killed in Hit-and-Run Crash
    A man in a wheelchair was killed Monday night in Fullerton when a hit-and-run driver crashed into him, police said. Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Tuesday Aug. 19, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    Residents said pedestrians frequently cross outside of the crosswalks because the crosswalks are located far apart.

    "I used to see him every single day, and he always asked me for change, and I always gave him a couple dollars or buy him something to eat," said resident Eric Reinhard, who believes the victim is someone who he saw regularly in the area. "It's sad, it's sad you know, he didn't deserve that."

    Initial reports indicated authorities were searching for a sport utility vehicle in connection with the crash, but investigators later determined they were looking for a light color SUV or pickup with a camper shell. A grainy image taken by a surveillance camera was released in hopes of finding the driver.

    Orangethorpe Avenue was shut down in both directions between Magnolia Avenue and Gilbert Street for the investigation.

    This is the second death involving a hit-and-run driver and victim in a wheelchair this week in Southern California. A 62-year-old man in a wheelchair was killed by a hit-and-run driver in San Bernardino Thursday.

    Oleevia Woo and Samia Khan contributed to this report.