Discovery of a license plate enabled investigators to identify the vehicle suspected of striking and mortally injuring a man walking in a residential neighborhood in East Hollywood Friday morning, officials said.
The license plate, apparently dislodged by the impact and found at the scene, is for a Ford Crown Victoria, a black four door sedan, said LAPD Det. Jeff Fischer. Investigators are seeking the registered owner for questioning, and attempting to determine if the owner was also the driver.
The fatal impact occurred just before 6 a.m, when a vehicle traveling southbound in the 600 north block of Normandie Avenue struck the man who was crossing midblock, according to Fischer.
"We heard like a screeching sound and then people started honking around him because they wanted someone to call the police," said neighbor Karena Diaz.
"The vehicle did not stop and he just drove away," Det. Fischer said..
Diaz said she saw a good Samaritan stopped to help the man and administered CPR until paramedics arrive..
The victim, who lived nearby with a roommate, was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.Neighbors in the apartment building said they did not know much about him. Authorities described him as an immigrant in his late 20's, who has been working in Los Angeles and sending money to his family in Mexico. Detectives were attempting to locate his next of kin.
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"[The driver] should've stopped," Diaz said. "He just made it worse for himself running away from the problem."
Normandie Avenue is a major north-south artery through Los Angeles. Diaz said it is dangerous to cross as a pedestrian, and recalled herself nearly being struck once when she was crossing at an intersection with a green light.
Seeking additional information on the suspect Ford Crown Victoria, detectives were aided by the license plate recognition system used by LAPD and many other police agencies, according to Fischer. Checking a database of when and where license plates were recognized, detectives learned that in recent weeks the suspect Ford had been seen in the area near where the pedestrian was killed.
Detectives also gleaned an image of the Ford. For many years, modified versions of the Crown Victoria model have been used as law enforcement vehicles, and it appeared to Fischer that the suspect vehicle may once have been a police car, possibly later sold in a public auction. Visible equipment leads Fischer to believe the vehicle may recently have been used for security work.
Det. Fischer requested that anyone with information on that suspect Crown Victoria contact LAPD West Bureau Traffic detectives at 213-473-0234.