Los Angeles

Witness Gives Investigators a Lead in Search for Hit-and-Run Driver

A witness wrote down the license plate number of the car, which gave investigators a big lead.

A man was hospitalized with critical injuries after a driver struck him, fled and then ignored witnesses' pleas to stay early Thursday in downtown Los Angeles, police said.

A man was crossing northbound on a marked crosswalk at around 12:20 a.m. on Sixth Street and Towne Avenue when he was struck by a black Cadillac CTS traveling eastbound, said Det. Padilla of the Los Angeles Police Department Central Traffic Bureau.

The driver continued eastbound without stopping, Padilla said. Witnesses told police the driver later returned to the scene. One witness recognized the car, jumped on his scooter and went to flag down the driver.

"He approached the driver and told him what he had done," Padilla said. "The driver ignored him and fled southbound on Stanford (Avenue)."

But one of the witnesses wrote down the license plate of the car, which gave investigators a big lead. Police released information Thursday morning about a man who they are calling a person of interest.

They are looking for Chris Rugley, the registered owner of the dark-colored 2007 Cadillac CTS with California license plate number 5YTE203, which is expected to have front-end damage.

Police are hoping to review surveillance video.

The victim was taken to the hospital and was undergoing surgery for his injuries.

Jonathan Gonzalez contributed to this report.

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