SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - San Jose police are once again searching for a driver wanted in connection to a fatal hit-and-run pedestrian accident. The unidentified victim was hit around 6:30 a.m. on Monday as he walked across Almaden Expressway between Camden and Redmond Avenues.
“It is dangerous. People speed down the expressway all the time, and it is just dangerous,” said neighbor Corinne Bui, who lives near the crime scene.
Police said the driver of a red pickup truck, traveling northbound, hit the victim, and initially stopped -- but then continued driving without calling 911.
“Then four other cars ran over the pedestrian. Those four cars stayed at the scene, they called 911,” said Sgt. Enrique Garcia of the San Jose Police Department.
He said there have a been a total of six fatal traffic accidents in the city since the New Year began.
Starting January 3, three of the six collisions involved fatal vehicle-pedestrian hit and runs. Two of those crimes happened on the 24th, and a third on the 28th.
Surveillance video from the 28th shows the 59-year old Margaret Urueta of San Jose walking in the crosswalk, when she was hit and killed by the driver of this white full-length van. The suspect still hasn’t been caught.
“We have more traffic fatalities so far this year than we did at the same time last year,” said Jaime Fearer, the deputy director of the California Walks affiliate in San Jose.
She said it’s too soon to see a trend, but time of day – during nighttime hours -- and speed, are likely contributing factors in the fatal hit-and-run collisions with pedestrians.
“Everybody’s vision is kind of impaired when it’s darker. It’s harder gauge how fast the drivers are going. drivers may not see folks at intersections depending on how well the lighting is, or if there is lighting at all at those intersections,” said Fearer.
Fearer and others call for more public education about the dangers associated with speeding and fatalities. The posted speed limit along Almaden Expresssay is 50 miles per hour.
“I would say it’s a pretty dangerous area right here,” said Nicole Puckett, a neighbor who lives down the block from the Almaden Expressway collision scene.
Police say regardless of time of day or speed, an accident becomes a crime as soon as a motorist drives off without stopping to render aid..
“What motivates someone to flee the scene of a traffic collision? They could be wanted. They could have just committed a crime. Maybe the car is stolen. There’s a lot of different reasons. Now we need to public’s help to solve these multiple cases,” said Garcia.
A national non-profit designed to help city’s grow more smartly, and more safely says over the past decade, nation-wide, there’s been a 35-percent increase in the number of people struck and killed while walking.
In San Jose, four people have lost their lives in that way over the last four weeks, with three of the four involved in fatal vehicle-pedestrian hit and runs. The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner will determine the exact cause of death and will release the victim’s identity once family has been notified.
Anyone with information is asked to call "911" or contact Detective Troy Sirmons of the San Jose Police Department's Traffic Investigations Unit at 408-277-4654.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may either call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line, (408) 947-STOP (7867).