Man drives off, says he didn’t realize he hit cyclist in East County

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LA MESA, Calif. — A 74-year-old man kept driving on a La Mesa street after he struck a bicyclist with his pickup, but was “shocked to learn” that he had struck someone after he told officers he thought he had only run over a curb, police said Wednesday.

The crash happened around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday on University Avenue when the man, driving a 1994 GMC pickup westbound, turned right onto Harbinson Avenue and struck a 21-year-old man who was riding a bicycle westbound in the designated bike lane, La Mesa Police Lt. Brian Stoney said.

The rider was knocked off his bicycle on impact and the pickup driver continued north on Harbinson.

The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of an apparent broken ankle, Stoney said.

A witness provided police with a vehicle description and the truck’s license plate number, then officers located the pickup and the driver on Vassar Avenue, about a half-mile from the crash scene, the lieutenant said.

“When contacted by the police the driver of the pickup was shocked to learn that he had hit a bicyclist,” Stoney said. “Thinking he had hit a curb, (he) continued on without stopping.”

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash was urged to call La Mesa police at 619-667-1400.

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