Man killed in South Bay remembered as caring, athletic Navy veteran

SAN DIEGO – When a young neighbor was selling candy several years ago for a school fundraiser, Carmelo Figueroa bought all of the girl’s Caramello candy bars, telling her that although she and the other neighbors called him by a nickname, he shared a real name with the candy he was buying.

“Every time I had one of those fundraisers for school, he was my first stop,” neighbor Zahira Padilla told the San Diego Union-Tribune Monday. “And every time, he tried to support me.”

Figueroa, 66, was killed early last week when a speeding car struck him on his daily morning walk in South Bay’s Ocean Crest neighborhood. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office released his name Monday.

According to police and the Medical Examiner’s Office, Figueroa was crossing Del Sol Boulevard near Dennery Road around 7:10 a.m. on July 30 when he was struck by a speeding 2012 Ford Fusion. The crash threw him nearly 200 feet, where he landed and was struck by a second vehicle.

Paramedics confirmed his death at the scene “due to obvious fatal injuries,” according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. The crash was ruled accidental.

The Fusion’s driver, a man in his 20s, was uninjured in the crash.

Friends and neighbors said Figueroa was a Navy veteran, and Padilla remembered him as a friendly neighbor who raised and lowered a U.S. flag every day.

Figueroa’s presence loomed large in the neighborhood where Padilla grew up, she remembered.

Read more about Figueroa at San Diego Union-Tribune.