Golf course landscaper hit and killed by suspect in stolen truck

A San Leandro golf-course landscaper was hit and killed by a man driving a stolen pickup truck, authorities said.

"It makes me sick. It almost — It makes me rage," said John Jorgensen, golf course superintendent at Monarch Bay Golf Club, where staffers are mourning the loss of longtime employee Ismael Hernandez.

On Monday afternoon, Hernandez was riding a lawnmower back to the golf course maintenance yard.

He was riding in the bike lane on Fairway Drive near Monarch Bay Drive when he was rear-ended by a pickup truck at high speed.

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The impact knocked the lawnmower onto the sidewalk. Hernandez was ejected from the mower and hit the pavement.

He died two days later at the hospital.

San Leandro police said a stolen Dodge Ram Pickup truck hit Hernandez.

The driver ran off after the crash, but officers later arrested the suspect, Jason McDermott, 43. Alameda County prosecutors have charged him with vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and auto theft.

Authorities said he had been driving recklessly in the area before the crash.

Jorgensen said that's an all too common sight in the marina area.

"Pretty much every intersection around this golf course has got skid marks, you know, from where kids are out burning, doing burnouts and stuff," Jorgensen said.

Hernandez was a single father of three children.

"He worked his butt off for his family," Jorgensen said. "Ismael was the most gentle man I ever met."

Jorgensen said Hernandez was part of a 12-member maintenance crew at Monarch Bay.

He had never taken a day off in years.

In recent weeks he had been working 13-hour days, working at Monarch Nay and another golf course in Oakland.

"It was so senseless for a man who's so gentle, who is so - he never, ever, ever had a frown on his face," Jorgensen said.