People knew him by the first name, Mark. Most of those who live or work in the Fullerton neighborhood around Orangethorpe and Vine avenues described him as a nice homeless man, older, a hard drinker, who got around in a wheelchair.
The reaction to his getting hit by a vehicle last night around midnight was disbelief and sadness. Many of those we talked to saying, “it finally killed him” or “again?!”
It turns out that the same man who was killed in the hit and run accident had been hit, crossing the same street, before. At least once in the last few months, on Orangethorpe and another time, in 2008, in the city of Buena Park. Both times he was drunk, they add. One of the times he actually spent some time in a hospital, before being released and returning to the same neighborhood.
“He was only hit twice here? ” asks one man who lives nearby, adding that the street has been closed “At least three times in the last few months” for hit and run investigations. We have requested information on other hit and runs on the intersection from Fullerton authorities. They are looking at exact numbers, but tell us that the other incidents did not result in fatalities.
The owner of an insurance business on Orangethorpe says he won't let his employees cross the road “it's too dangerous, and the last time someone got hit was in daylight!" He adds that local businesses filed requests for a crosswalk on the corner, but that the city of Fullerton turned them down because there is already another crosswalk a couple of blocks away. City engineers tell us off camera that slowing down this section of busy Orangethorpe could do more harm than good, especially because it's right next to the 5 Freeway. Although, they also add they might look at the issue, again, after this fatal accident.
Police investigators say the vehicle that hit the victim was a light colored suv or truck, with a camper shell. It should have substantial damage on the front. Since the driver did not stop, he or she faces a felony. Had they stopped, it could have been a less serious situation because the victim was crossing from the middle of the sidewalk, not at the crosswalk, or at the intersection.
Officers are checking video from security cameras in the area for a good image of the vehicle. For now, they are hoping someone will come forward, and give them a call.
Orange County Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1(855)TIP-OCCS or their website www.crimestoppers.org
The victim has been preliminarily identified from the prior contacts with police, but his identity is being withheld pending family notifications.