Police arrest man in fatal hit-run; victim's leg still missing - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Police arrest man in fatal hit-run; victim's leg still missing

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Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 11:04 am

Mesa police on Tuesday announced the arrest of a suspect in a Sunday hit-and-run crash that killed one pedestrian, severing his leg, and severely injured another.

Jose DeJesus Padilla-Rodriguez, 23, faces two counts of failure to stop at a serious injury or fatal collision and two counts of failure to remain at a serious injury or fatal collision, both felonies.

He told investigators he was aware he struck the pedestrians, whom he described as a male and a female, and did not stop to render aid.

After media reports of the crash, a concerned Mesa resident reported a suspicious Toyota Celica in the parking lot of her apartment complex that was similar to what police said could have been a teal green Honda. When officers arrived they found a glass company employee with orders to replace the Celica’s windshield.

Officers obtained a phone number from him and contacted the car’s registered owner, who said he had lent it to Padilla-Rodriguez, who did not return the vehicle and told him it had been stolen.

Part of the lower-left leg of the deceased victim still is missing, according to Mesa police Sgt. Ed Wessing.

“When a vehicle hits a body at that speed, generally it’s a pretty violent collision and the persons are thrown over the car,” Wessing said.

The hit-and-run occurred about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the 400 block of west Broadway Road.

Two men were walking to their nearby apartment after leaving a bar when the eastbound car struck both of them.

The survivor was severely injured but is in stable condition now, Wessing said.

The suspect vehicle passed another vehicle after the collision, and that driver provided police with the car’s description.

The men, both 25-year-old Hispanic males, did not carry proper identification but their friends arrived at the scene after the crash and offered their names.

Police are tracking down relatives before they release the names, Wessing said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6548 or ggroff@evtrib.com

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