60-Year-Old Father Killed in Echo Park Hit-and-Run Crash; LAPD Looking for Driver

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Police are searching for the driver who fatally struck a 60-year-old pedestrian in Echo Park and then fled the scene Thursday morning.

Jose Mario Vaquero is seen in a family photo.

Jose Mario Vaquero is seen in a family photo.

The hit-and-run crash was reported about 5:20 a.m. at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Douglas Street, Los Angeles Police Department Detective Juan Campos said.

Emergency personnel responded and pronounced the victim dead at the scene, Campos said.

The victim's ex-wife identified him as Jose Mario Vaquero, a father of three. The coroner later confirmed Vaquero's name and age, 60.

America Martinez told KTLA Vaquero was headed to work in El Sereno when he was struck.

A witness told investigators the vehicle was traveling eastbound on Sunset Boulevard when it struck the victim, sending him flying into the air. The victim was crossing Sunset southbound, west of Douglas, when he was struck, LAPD said.

Police are searching for a dark blue vehicle with dark tinted windows, Detective Moses Castillo said. The vehicle will have damage to the front end and windshield.

Police later in the day released surveillance video showing the vehicle, which was then described as a dark blue Honda Accord of unknown model year.

 

The victim was believed to have run into the intersection against a red light at the time of the crash, Castillo said. Witnesses told police they believe he was was possibly trying to catch a bus, something Martinez confirmed her ex-husband did every morning.

Castillo urged pedestrians who find themselves running late to wait for another bus, which is usually just a few minutes behind.

LAPD released this image of a car whose driver is wanted in a hit-and-run that left a 60-year-old pedestrian dead in Echo Park on Dec. 19, 2019.

LAPD released this image of a car whose driver is wanted in a hit-and-run that left a 60-year-old pedestrian dead in Echo Park on Dec. 19, 2019.

“It’s better to lose a minute of your life than to lose your life in a minute,” Castillo said.

The city of Los Angeles automatically posts a $50,000 reward for help leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible in such cases, Campos said

Martinez is hoping the driver will turn himself or herself in.

“I know accidents happen but please come forward," she said.

Anyone with information can call 911 or contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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