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Four hit-and-run crashes recorded in last three months

Posted: August 23, 2016 12:00 a.m.
Updated: August 23, 2016 12:00 a.m.

Without witnesses, solving Santa Clarita Valley’s fourth hit-and-run crash causing death or injury in the last three months will prove challenging, a veteran traffic investigator said.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Traffic Investigator Deputy Jeff Maag told The Signal Monday that he’s hoping someone calls with information about Sunday’s hit and run crash in Newhall that left one man dead.

The 51-year-old Hispanic man was struck by a car sometime before 9 p.m. on Newhall Avenue at Sierra Highway, Inspector Gustavo Medina of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

“Without witnesses, it’s practically impossible,” Maag said referring to hit-and-run investigations in general. “Even with video evidence, there are a number of factors — the clarity of the video, the lighting, the frame speed — all make it difficult.”

Since May 25, when Arroyo Seco Junior High School music teacher Rob Bennett was struck and killed while riding his bicycle on Placerita Canyon Road, Santa Clarita Valley has seen three other hit-and-run traffic collisions resulting in injury or death.

Three of the “fail to remain at the scene” crashes are being investigated by Sheriff’s Station officials.

Five occupants of a car were injured and sent to the hospital July 4 after the motorist who hit their car fled the scene. Christian Zamora, 31, was arrested about an hour after the crash, charged with hit-and-run driving resulting in injury.

A Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer was injured Wednesday on Interstate 5 near Hasley Canyon Road on his way to work, after being hit repeatedly by a motorist who fled. Philip Scott Newlyn, 28, of Elk Grove, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder by California Highway Patrol officers later that same day in San Diego.

Maag said he is still investigating a hit-and-run accident from a year ago for which there were no witnesses.

The body of former Castaic resident Deborah Anne Wunderle, 64, was found in the northbound lanes of Orchard Village Road near Mill Valley Road on Sept. 14, 2015.

“There were no witnesses, no evidence. It’s still outstanding,” Maag said, adding it anyone has any information about that night they are urged to call.

[email protected]
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


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