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TPD seeks driver in fatal hit and run

Pedestrian deaths double compared to last year
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-08 18:46:57-04

Tucson Police are looking for a driver who ran down a man trying to cross the street in a wheelchair----then drove away.

The man died in the hospital a few hour later.

Police have identified the man as 44-year-old Bonifacio Salazar.

Police hope you can help find the hit and run driver.  The vehicle was a dark pickup or SUV.  It has lower body damage you, or a repair shop may be able to recognize.

Pedestrian deaths are soaring this year---fifteen so far, compared to seven at this same time last year.

Police believe the man got a hot dog from a cart from a lot on the north side of Irvington, then headed to the bus center across the street.

Instead of using a crosswalk designed to stop traffic, he began to cross about a hundred feet from the crosswalk.

A driver hit him and did not even slow down.

Paint marks the careful measurements detectives make when a life ends on the pavement.

In Tucson, it's happened fifteen times this year, and it's barely July.

Three times in January, twice in February, four times in March, twice in April, twice in June, and now this latest death in July.

Police say in many of these deaths, including the latest, pedestrians did not use systems designed to keep them safe.

The City of Tucson has spent millions of dollars to put special pedestrian crossings called HAWK lights at spots all over the city, and all over the city, you will see pedestrians ignoring the HAWK crossing that's just a few feet away.

But that does not relieve drivers of the responsibility to watch for pedestrians everywhere---and the responsibility to stop and help if there's an accident.

Of the fifteen pedestrian deaths this year, seven---almost half were hit and runs.

Police say it's a crime to leave an accident scene but staying may help police decide you're not at fault.

Tucson Police Sergeant Pete Dugan says, “Often times we just need to speak to the driver to find out exactly what happened.  It's not always the driver's fault either.  It could have been something that a pedestrian did, or it's something the driver did, but those are things we try to find out."

But even if you are not at fault, if you leave, you have committed a felony.

Police say it's hard to know exactly why there's a surge in pedestrian deaths.  Not using crosswalks is a factor. Distracted drivers may add to the danger.

Again, in this latest hit and run, Tucson Police are hoping you recognize a dark pick- up or SUV with lower body damage.  If you see it, call 911 or 88-CRIME.