Hit-and-run driver kills man walking on East County highway

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SANTA YSABEL, Calif. —¬†Authorities Friday released the name of a 29-year-old man who was killed in a hit-and-run crash on a mountain highway northwest of Julian.

Jeremy Ortiz of Warner Springs was found dead in the roadway on state Route 79 in Santa Ysabel about 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

Investigators determined that Ortiz had been walking in the single northbound lane of the rural route near Mesa Grande Road when he was struck by a northbound silver 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Following the fatal impact, the motorist continued driving and left the area, CHP public-affairs Officer Travis Garrow said. Hours later, the damaged SUV was found abandoned alongside SR-79 north of Fink Road in Warner Springs.

As of Friday afternoon, no one had been arrested or charged in the case, Garrow said. The spokesman declined to disclose whether officials have identified the involved driver, though he did say investigators were conducting interviews in connection with the fatality and “following several leads.”

The deadly pedestrian crash was the second to occur within a span of about 45 minutes on the scenic, winding highway northeast of San Diego. The driver involved in earlier one, which occurred near Warner Springs, pulled over and was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI.