Driver runs off after hitting man getting into car

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SAN DIEGO -- A pedestrian suffered serious head injuries and a spinal fracture Thursday morning when a hit-and-run driver struck him and four parked vehicles as he was getting into his car in the Southcrest area, police said.

It happened shortly before 4:15 a.m. in the 3600 block of National Avenue, east of the Otto Plaza shopping center, San Diego police Officer Tony Martinez said.

A man driving a black Lincoln SUV westbound on National Avenue veered to the right for unknown reasons and struck the 46-year-old man as he was getting into his vehicle parked along the north curb of the road, Martinez said.

The Lincoln driver also struck a total of four parked vehicles -- leaving the SUV unable to move -- before he ran off westbound on National Avenue, the officer said.

A neighbor told FOX 5 she heard the crash and rushed outside. "We saw a man yelling, 'Oh my god oh my god,' and I'm like, 'What did you do?'" Kimberly Rodriguez said. "I just ran inside to call 911 but I didn't see the man laying outside until I noticed him. So I called the police and told them, 'Please hurry, there's a man outside and I think he has head injuries because he's bleeding.'"

The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of major trauma to his head and a spinal fracture, Martinez said. An update on the man's condition was not immediately available.

Rodriguez said it's common for drivers to speed down National Avenue. "There's been four accidents in the past two months," she said. "We're just going to have to, like, maybe get the neighbors together to sign a petition, maybe take it to the city to have a stop sign. I don't know if maybe that will help."

The suspect was described as a 5'7" man in his 30s with a heavy build. He was last seen wearing a black hat and a white T-shirt.

A SigAlert was issued, shutting down both directions of National Avenue between 35th and 43rd streets for the crash investigation.

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