VISTA, Calif. – A 17-year-old boy was killed in a hit-and-run crash Monday evening while crossing a street in Vista and the driver was later arrested.
The crash was reported at 7:17 p.m. in the area of North Santa Fe Avenue and East Drive, according to Yvan Rogers of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Witnesses told responding deputies that the boy was crossing North Santa Fe Avenue when he was struck by a dark-colored SUV. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene, Rogers said.
The 22-year-old driver of the SUV fled the scene but was later contacted and arrested, Rogers said.
Family and friends of the victim, gathered throughout the night and Tuesday leaving flowers and candles at the intersection where the crash happened. Several identified him as 17-year-old El Camino High School student Jose Maldonado of Oceanside.
Jessica Parra and Brianna Reyes went to school with Maldonado and remembered his happy attitude.
“He was clown he was laughing all the time, he was smiley. His smile was the best thing. It would brighten up your day,” said Parra.
"As a little kid he was always smiling. Laughing. He always made everybody laugh. He was a good kid and had a good heart.I just don’t get why somebody would do this,” said Reyes.
Both girls were angry the driver left Maldonado to die in the road.
"It pisses me off I think I’m more angry at the fact that that happened I can’t cry right now its hard for me. It’s hard," said Parra. "I just hope justice is served for him, because he doesn’t deserve to be out on the streets."
Authorities are continuing their investigation into the deadly crash.
"At this time, alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor in the collision," Rogers said.
A GoFundMe page is collecting donations for the boy's family.