Anguished mother pleads for tips in deadly San Jose hit-and-run

The mother of a woman who died in a hit-and-run crash at a San Jose intersection where others have been killed pleaded for tips in the case on Thursday.

The driver of the Mercedes that hit Vanessa Arce, 37, "took off, left her, didn't check to see if she was alive or dead," said Arce's mother Felipa Pineda.

Arce, a mother of five, was in a wheelchair and in a crosswalk when she hit April 1 near Monterey Highway and Curtner Avenue. She died the next day.

Through tears, Pineda said, "I know that nothing will bring my daughter back, but bringing the individual or individuals to justice is what we want."

Police said Arce did everything right while trying to cross the street. 

"Crossing with the signal light. A vehicle came through the intersection and struck the person in a wheelchair. That person fled," said San Jose police Sgt. Christian Camarillo.

Police released surveillance video showing the vehicle involved, a white Mercedes CLS, moments before the crash. The department also released a stock photo of the 2004 to 2010 Mercedes in question.

At least three people have died this year in crashes at Monterey and Curtner.

"This has been a very dangerous intersection this year, as well as the Monterey corridor," Camarillo said.            

Just an hour before the news conference, police learned that a man who had been hit by a Chevy blazer at the same corner on Aug. 4, had died on Wednesday.

Police say the suspect in that case, Roberto Figueroa, fled the scene but was arrested the day of the crash.

Police say this area is notorious for speeding but that pedestrians need to do their part as well.

"There's two crosswalks within a couple hundred feet of each other," Camarillo said. "We're often seeing pedestrians cross in between those two crosswalks. So it's going to take a collaborative effort, pedestrians, motorists."

San Jose City Councilmember Maya Esparza said it isn't enough for pedestrians to be in crosswalks.

"Sometimes they'll cross in a crosswalk but against the light, and so we need people to wait for lights," Esparza said. "So I've asked the Department of Transportation to look at physical barriers."

As the city tries to improve safety, Pineda wants the driver who killed her daughter behind bars. 

"We are devastated with this horrific incident and we would like justice, and I refuse to have this be a cold case for my daughter," Pineda said.

Anyone with information in any traffic fatality in San Jose should call the traffic investigations unit at (408) 277-4654.