Family members on Saturday mourned the loss of a 72-year-old man who was killed in a head-on collision as he was just feet from his driveway after returning home from his car upholstery business.
Douglas Jerald Welch was killed at 10:40 p.m. Friday in the 2100 block of West Boulevard when a speeding Mercedes smashed into his pickup truck in the Mid-City section of Los Angeles, police said.
“I saw my daddy's body ...” said Tony Welch, trailing off to regain his composure. “I can't believe it happened right here in this driveway.”
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The driver of the Mercedes ran off into the night, but has been identified, police said. The driver's name was not released.
Two passengers in the sedan were hospitalized with injuries.
Welch was going north on West Boulevard in a blue 1981 Dodge pickup truck, trying to turn left into a driveway when his vehicle was struck by a speeding silver 2000 Mercedes-Benz C500 going south, Los Angeles police officer Sung Yoon of the West Traffic Division said.
The Mercedes hit a pole and came to a stop on the lawn of a nearby home with the pole on top of the vehicle. The impact of the crash pushed the pick up truck nearly 100 feet down the street and Welch was ejected from vehicle.
Through tears, the family said Welch once played professional baseball in a league in Panama and spent his life building a business and family.
“I love my uncle,” said Welch’s niece, Sonia Gall, through tears. “I can't believe he's gone.”
Residents in the area say crashes are common and they’ve tried desperately to get help.
“We have asked. We have begged. Now my dad's life’s gone,” said Tony Welch.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that three people ran from the Mercedes. In fact, only the driver escaped.