John Cadiz Klemack and Edwin Calderon
A tearful vigil took place Tuesday night for hit-and-run victim Claire Rose. Some mourners think conditions along Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica where the crash occurred are unsafe for pedestrians. John Cadiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 11pm on Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Friends sang a tearful "Happy Birthday" Tuesday night at the site of a fatal hit-and-run collision that killed a woman on her 30th birthday early Monday morning.
The incident occurred at the corner of 21st Street and Wilshire Boulevard. Police believe the suspect’s vehicle was traveling westbound on Wilshire when it struck Claire Rose shortly after midnight.
Rose was walking to the store when she was struck by what police say could be a charcoal grey or black Toyota, possibly a Prius, with significant front-end damage.
"We turned for a second and heard a pop," Charles Tobias said. "I saw this girl flying through the air like a rag doll and land on the ground face down. The car just kept on driving – didn’t stop, no brakes, nothing. Just like it hit a bug on a windshield."
Rose's friends passed out fliers pleading for information in the case and left flowers at a makeshift memorial near the site of the incident.
"She was just an amazing person -- really great, bright light, wonderful, awesome free-spirit," said Natasha Owen, friend.
Rose has plans to celebrate her 30th birthday with her boyfriend, Sasha, in Palm Springs Tuesday.
Police are checking area businesses to see if surveillance video might have captured the hit and run.
Some neighbors suggest the city should put reflective lights on the pavement to better illuminate the crosswalks.
Monday's incident was the latest in a string of hit-and-run crashes -- many of them fatal -- across LA. Last week, 30-year-old Erin Galligan was killed after a driver struck her while she was riding her bicycle on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica.
Friends of Rose echoed the same sentiment expressed by Galligan's: hope that the driver will do the right thing.
"Why did you not stop, and leave a poor girl in the road like this?" said one friend. "I don’t have any hatred toward anyone, but I think the right thing to do is turn yourself in."