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Homeless Man Killed in Traffic Accident

Driver Saw Victim But Reportedly Misgauged Speed


Monday, May 17, 2010

A 63-year-old homeless man was struck by a car Saturday night as he walked across the intersection of State and Islay Streets. He later died from his injuries.

According to a press release issued Monday by police spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey, the victim — whose name has not been released yet pending notification of family members — was known to frequent the areas around State and Mission Streets. The driver of the vehicle, said McCaffrey, was 23-year-old Javier Castillo.

A preliminary investigation revealed that Castillo was driving his 2004 Mazda RX-8 northbound on State Street at around 8:30 p.m. when he saw the victim walking eastbound across State Street along Islay Street. Castillo, according to McCaffrey, told investigators that he thought the man would clear the intersection before he drove through, but wound up striking the victim with the right front of his car. The victim was reportedly swept up onto the hood of the vehicle before falling to the pavement.

Police spoke to witnesses at the scene who corroborated Castillo’s story. Investigators are still trying to determine how fast Castillo was driving during the accident and, according to McCaffrey, that piece of information will have great bearing on what, if any, charges are filed against Castillo.

McCaffrey stated that at the time of the accident the weather was clear and light in the vicinity was provided by a street lamp and nearby businesses. Visibility did not appear to be a factor, he said, and Castillo — who owned the car but did not have a license — was not considered to be an impaired driver, though he did provide a blood sample for analysis. Castillo purportedly stayed at the scene and cooperated with responding officers.

The victim suffered a broken leg and severe chest injuries, McCaffrey relayed, and witnesses reported that an unidentified doctor applied a tourniquet to the victim’s leg in a vain attempt to save the man’s life. (Anyone who witnessed the collision, said McCaffrey, or can identify the doctor, is urged to contact Officer Mark Hunt at 805-897-3719.) Emergency personnel rushed the victim to Cottage Hospital for further treatment, but he was pronounced dead not long after arrival.

The victim had reportedly been involved in a similar incident two months ago. On March 14 — as he was crossing State Street at Victoria Avenue — his feet were run over by a 61-year-old man in a pickup truck. The driver was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

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