Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Illgeal Alien Arrested for Vehicular Killing
It took a year to find him, but CSI-type analysis of paint chips lead to one culprit.
Washington Avenue and Begonia Street, Escondido
Homicide at 8:13 p.m., January 19, 2007; arrest at 2:45 p.m., January 3, 2008 Escondido PD 33.138969, -117.058128
On January 19, a 17-year-old pedestrian was killed while crossing the street. The pedestrian was hit by two cars. The first car fled the scene and the second car remained. EPD traffic division investigated the collision as a felony hit-and-run. The driver of the car that fled the scene became the focus of the investigation.
Evidence left at the scene allowed investigators to follow an almost year-long path that included expert opinion from various recognized sources with specialized training in vehicle collisions and specific vehicle components, which include trace pain analysis.
Leads culminated to the point where investigators found the suspect vehicle; they also located the current registered owner of the car and learned it had been sold to another person after the vehicular killing.
DMV records showed the investigators who the owner of the car was on January 19, 2007.
On January 3, 2008, investigators contacted this previous owner, Jose Gerardo Lopez Serrano (of Escondido) and developed further information that substantiated a charge of PC 32 – Accessory to a Violation of CVC 200001(a), Hit and Run with death. Serrano was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on that charge and, because he is an illegal alien, has an Immigration Hold by federal authorities.
Apparently Serrano was not driving his vehicle at the time; the driver of the suspect car has not been formally identified, so the investigation is on-going. If anyone can help EPD identify or locate this person, they are asked to call Officer Scott Walters at 760-839-4939 or make an anonymous call on the Community Safety Tip Line at 760-743-8477.