Hit-and-run driver stopped momentarily before fleeing deadly crash, police say

Police said today that a man died last week after a hit-and-run driver crashed into him while he was crossing the street in Long Beach’s Washington neighborhood.

Investigators are still looking for the driver, who pulled over “momentarily” after the wreck but then drove off before officers arrived, police said in a news release.

The crash happened around 8:25 p.m., Wednesday, May 15, while the man was in a crosswalk on Pacific Avenue at 16th Street, according to authorities. The driver failed to yield and hit the man, leaving him lying in the street with major traumatic injuries, police said.

That stretch of Pacific Avenue has seen some other bad crashes recently. Earlier this month, a man was left unconscious after being hit by a car near 19th Street, and in February, a 63-year-old man was killed while crossing Pacific at Burnett Street, which is about a mile north of 16th Street.

A week later, a small memorial still sits at Pacific Avenue and Burnett Street where a man was killed in a crosswalk on Feb. 18, 2019. Photo by Jeremiah Dobruck.

A small memorial was set up on Pacific Avenue at Burnett Street after a man was killed in a crosswalk there on Feb. 18, 2019. Photo by Jeremiah Dobruck.

After Wednesday’s crash, paramedics took the man to the hospital in critical condition, but he died the next day, according to police, who said they only learned of his death on Monday from the coroner’s office.

The victim was Ricky Gonzalez, a 60-year-old homeless man from Long Beach, according to authorities.

The car that hit him was an early 2000s silver Volkswagen Jetta, police said. The driver was a woman wearing a blue tank top, black leggings and sandals, according to the LBPD.

Police asked anyone with information about the crash to contact Det. Sirilo Garcia at 562-570-7355. Anonymous tips can be made through Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children, Paul and Simon.
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