Man run over, killed by friend after trying to stop her from leaving party, cops say

SAN DIEGO - A 34-year-old man laid down in front of a car driven by a friend, and was killed as the woman drove away from his birthday party just after midnight Sunday, police said.

Jonathan Carlyle Merkley, of Garden Grove, was celebrating his 34th birthday night at the Staybridge Suites hotel, in the 6600 block of Mira Mesa Boulevard, at about 12:30 a.m.

According to San Diego police, Merkley friends' had been drinking alcohol at the hotel when the unidentified woman tried to get behind the wheel.

Witnesses said both had been drinking alcohol with friends before the incident. The man was trying to prevent the woman from leaving, walked into the path of her BMW and laid down in front of the moving car, according to San Diego Police Sgt. Tom Sullivan.

The woman did not stop, ran over the man and kept going. The victim suffered major trauma to his chest and died later at a hospital, Sullivan said.

Police know the identity of the BMW driver, but she had not been arrested as of late Sunday morning, according to Sullivan.

“She needs to turn herself in. You need to understand there was a mistake that was made, but to do the right thing,” said Gloria Williams, a hotel guest. "I think this is crazy, we don’t value each others lives.”

If anyone has information about his hit and run you are asked to contact the San Diego Police Department or crime stoppers at 888-580-8477.

[UPDATE August 23, 2016] San Diego police have not made any arrests in the deadly crash. They released this statement:

“We have interviewed the female friend and have a vehicle in custody pending examination to determine if it is the vehicle in question.  We are still evaluating the other parties culpability, if any, in this collision. There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing. “