Driver Finds Homeless Man Dead in Orange Street

Driver uses his car to protect the body until police arrived

By Samantha Tata and Vikki Vargas
|  Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013  |  Updated 5:18 PM PDT
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A driver found the body of a 37-year-old man laying lifeless on Tustin Avenue in Orange Tuesday morning. Police are unsure how the man was killed. They say his injuries are consistent with being struck by a car. The investigation is being handled as a hit-and-run, though it's not known for sure if that's the case. Vikki Vargas reports from Orange for the NBC4 News at Noon on Oct. 15, 2013.

A driver found the body of a 37-year-old man laying lifeless on Tustin Avenue in Orange Tuesday morning. Police are unsure how the man was killed. They say his injuries are consistent with being struck by a car. The investigation is being handled as a hit-and-run, though it's not known for sure if that's the case. Vikki Vargas reports from Orange for the NBC4 News at Noon on Oct. 15, 2013.

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A man’s body was found on a usually busy street Monday in Orange, possibly the victim of an early morning hit-and-run.

“He had massive head trauma. He did identification with him, so they were able to ID who he was. At this point, we’re investigating it as a possible hit-and-run, although that’s not known for sure,” said Sgt. Fred Lopez, with the Orange Police Department.

A driver made the grisly discovery about 6 a.m. along Tustin Avenue between Collins and Quincy avenues. The driver used his car to protect the body until police arrived, authorities said.

The victim is described as a 37-year-old Hispanic man. He was carrying a backpack with identification when he died, but authorities are not releasing his name publicly until his family is notified.

Police said the victim likely is a transient, but was known among locals. There is a homeless shelter near the scene and residents said there are pockets along Tustin Avenue where transients tend to sleep.

A 1 1/5-mile stretch of the busy six-lane roadway, which parallels the 55 Freeway, was closed for some six hours and reopened about noon.

Mostly businesses and a few residents dot Tustin Avenue. Police recovered surveillance footage from at least one of those buildings.

So far, no witnesses have come forward. Anyone with information is urged to call the Orange Police Department.

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