Semi-Truck Driver Detaches Cab, Takes Off After Deadly Vernon Crash: Police

A search was underway for a semi-truck driver who apparently detached the cab from its trailer and took off after a deadly hit-and-run crash early Saturday morning in Vernon, California, and police have identified a "person of interest," officials said. 

The crash was reported just after 3 a.m. near the intersection of East 37th Street and South Santa Fe Avenue, according to the Vernon Police Department. 

Police said the driver was involved in a minor crash, about a block away from the scene, before running a red light and colliding with the Chevrolet pickup truck.

When rescue crews arrived at the scene, the pickup truck was found lodged underneath the trailer and the cab was missing from the 18-wheeler.  

Police said the driver detached his cab from the trailer and took off. 

Two people were trapped inside the pickup truck. The driver of the pickup was rescued and taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The passenger, identified as 28-year-old Armando Murillo of Pacoima, was pronounced dead at the scene, Vernon police said. 

Guillermo Ortiz Jr. was identified by police as a person of interest and is believed to have information on the crash. Police were seeking to speak with him and anyone else who may have witnessed the crash. 

Authorities found the trailer's cab abandoned in a parking lot on 26th and Soto streets. A restaurant employee near the site said she found beer next to the cab portion of the truck.

"It looks like he had two beers and left the rest of the 12 pack," Linda Sanchez said.

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