Suspected hit-and-run driver arrested after license plate found at scene
SPRING VALLEY (CNS) – A 20-year-old man walking home from work on a
sidewalk in Spring Valley was struck and killed by a SUV Sunday, but the fleeing
driver left behind a license plate that led to his arrest, a CHP officer said.
Jason Michael Palmer, 33, of Spring Valley, was arrested on suspicion of
felony hit and run and felony manslaughter in connection with the fatal
crash, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Pearlstein.
Alcohol and/or drugs appeared to have been a factor in the crash, the
Palmer was on probation and had an extensive criminal history, including
a drunken driving conviction 13 years ago, it was reported.
Palmer allegedly veered a borrowed 2008 Toyota 4Runner onto the sidewalk
and over the pedestrian as the man was walking on the north side of Campo
Road near North Cordoba Avenue around 3:45 a.m, then sped away, Pearlstein
However, the SUV's front license plate was left behind, near the body,
according to the officer.
California Highway Patrol officers and fire personnel confirmed the
pedestrian's death “due to obvious fatal injuries,” the San Diego County
Medical Examiner's Office reported. His name was withheld pending family
Investigators traced the suspect vehicle's license plate to one of
Palmer's relatives, Pearlstein said.
Officers tried to call Palmer, but he hung up, the CHP officer said.
The 4Runner turned up around 9:30 a.m., parked near Interstate 805 and
Aero Drive, Pearlstein said. The blue SUV was found with a broken windshield
and a crumpled front end, CBS8 reported.
“If you've ever seen a vehicle versus pedestrian (crash) at a high
speed, it's a pretty violent impact,” Pearlstein told reporters. “A 150-160
pound pedestrian can do a lot of damage.”
As officers were processing the SUV for evidence, Palmer was spotted in
a passing vehicle, which drive off.
Officers located him a short time later by “pinging” his cell phone,
Palmer was arrested without further incident and the damaged 4Runner's
keys were found in his pocket, the officer said.
Palmer was booked for suspicion of felony manslaughter and hit and run,
and additional charges could be added at the conclusion of the investigation,
Pearlstein said. Nearby businesses were being checked for relevant surveillance
footage, he said.
Campo Road was closed between North Granada and North Cordoba avenues
following the crash, but was reopened by late afternoon, according to the
county Department of Public Works.