Investigators were searching for a hit-and-run driver Tuesday after a vehicle fatally struck a 40-year-old man who had fallen off his bicycle while riding in Stanton, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
A preliminary investigation showed the man, identified as Jorge Covarrubias, was riding through an alleyway adjacent to Beach Boulevard when he fell off and onto the far right lane of the main roadway around 4:43 a.m, according to a news release from the department.
The driver of a dark-colored SUV that was traveling southbound on Beach Boulevard then ran over the victim before slowing down for a short distance and continuing to drive away at a high rate of speed, witnesses told the Sheriff’s Department.
The vehicle was last seen traveling southbound on Beach Boulevard toward Katella Avenue.
Frank Perez, a pedestrian who saw the collision, said he ran after the SUV, yelling for the vehicle to stop. Perez saw the cyclist fall into the street and began running toward him, he said.
“By the time I got to close to him — maybe I was less than 2, 3 feet from the guy — I see him on the floor, in the middle of the street. And the SUV just took him,” Perez said.
Covarrubias was dragged for about 10 feet.
The victim could be seen covered with a sheet and lying next to a bicycle on Beach Boulevard, against the curb, aerial video from Sky5 showed.
He was identified early Tuesday evening by the county coroner’s office and family members as Jorge Covarrubias, 40, of Stanton.
He leaves behind a 10-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter, according to family.
Covarrubias’ girlfriend Brenda Alonzo accused the driver of having no conscience, leaving the victim for dead.
“He’s gone,” a visibly distraught Alonzo said. “His kids are never going to see him.”
“He didn’t deserve to be left like that, like an animal in the street,” she said.
A small collection of candles and flowers were left at the site of the crash.
“He was a good man,” Alonzo’s tearful daughter Leilanni Carbala said. “He was nice.”
Surveillance video distributed by the Sheriff’s Department shows three cars speeding by, with the second vehicle believed to be that of the hit-and-run driver. Investigators were looking to speak to the drivers of the other vehicles.
A piece of the vehicle that was left at the scene was being examined by investigators.
Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock urged the driver or any occupants in the suspect vehicle to come forward.
Anyone with information was asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000 or 949-425-1860. Anonymous tips should be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-847-6227 or at occrimestoppers.org.
A donation page for the family has been set up on GoFundMe.com.
KTLA’s Kennedy Ryan contributed to this story.
— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSheriff) June 16, 2015