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Detectives seek hit-and-run driver

Crime: Newhall man, 30, severely injured in morning crash; detectives have no witnesses

Posted: November 8, 2010 9:49 p.m.
Updated: November 9, 2010 4:55 a.m.

A Newhall hit-and-run victim is struggling to stay alive today after he was struck by vehicle in front of Hart High School early Monday.

Jose Perez Trinidad, 30, of Newhall, is listed in critical condition at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital with head injuries described as life-threatening.

At about 5:20 a.m., Trinidad was walking across Newhall Avenue in front of Hart High School, north of 14th Street, when he was struck by an unknown vehicle, said veteran traffic investigator Detective Jeff Maag of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in Santa Clarita Valley.

Maag, who last month testified as an expert witness interpreting tire marks at a murder trial in San Fernando Superior Court, said the marks left in Monday’s incident tell him little about what happened.

“There (were) tire marks on his body and we’re hoping there’s distinctive tread, but I don’t think (the marks) will help,” he said.

The unknown motorist fled the scene and detectives are treating the incident as a felony hit and run.

“There were no witnesses to this incident and no debris found on the roadway,” Maag explained. “When deputies first rolled up they thought he had been shot.

“I don’t know if he was hit by a car or a truck or even train or a plane,” Maag said, adding that he is really counting on someone coming forward.

Trinidad was apparently walking to his car, about to pick up others in a car pool on his way to work,

“I want anyone who has seen anything, to phone me,” Maag said. “I don’t care how insignificant that witness thinks what he saw is, I would just like to hear from them.”

Maag said a person phoned 911 to report the body found lying in the street but that the person did not witness the incident.

“There wasn’t a high speed related to this,” he added. “I don’t think the guy went up on the hood. I think he was knocked down.  This was more a pulling of the skin.”

The vehicle might have sustained damage to its front end as a result of the collision, Maag said. “We believe there is probably headlight damage.”

Anyone with information about the collision is urged to call investigators at (661)-799-5112.


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