CHP Searches for Hit-and-Run Driver after Lockeford Man Dies on Highway 88

LOCKEFORD -- The Stockton-area CHP is still searching for clues that can help uncover the identity of a hit-and-run driver who killed a Lockeford resident.

Sixty-year-old Allen Mahler was walking east on Highway 88 Wednesday morning when he was apparently struck by a vehicle.

It was so early in the morning there were no witnesses and that complicates an already frustrating investigation.

On Thursday, Roman Romanofsky had hostile words for the driver who struck and killed his friend. The retired special education teacher was a grandfather three times over.

Mahler was found around 3:40 a.m. sprawled out along Highway 88, where he was headed toward the center of town. There were no signs of the vehicle that apparently struck him from behind.

Medics took Mahler to the hospital, where he died.

The highway during the day is busy, as it’s a major thoroughfare from the valley into the foothills. The Jackson Rancheria Casino is one popular destination but after hours there’s a lot less traffic.

Jose Urbina often walks the same stretch of the highway, which has no sidewalks.

"It’s pretty dangerous because you don’t know what cars are behind you," he said.

Friends say Mahler was having health problems and was known to walk only short distances from his home located on the highway.

His car with a handicap placard was still parked there Thursday.

Why he was a quarter-mile away from his house that early in the morning is a mystery.

"So how could he be there and his car be there? I mean, he didn’t walk really anywhere," Romanofsky told FOX40.

But the real mystery is who hit him and why the driver didn’t stop.

Meanwhile, CHP investigators have little to go on. There were no debris or skid marks left behind. A CHP investigator was checking security cameras at roadside businesses for evidence Thursday.

They are asking for help from people who know of damage to vehicles that might have been in a recent accident. Also, help from a guilty conscience isn’t being ruled out.

"Hopefully, whoever's responsible for this comes forward and does the right thing because somebody lost their life," said Charlie Katzakian with CHP Stockton.

In the meantime, friends and family are hurting.

"Wow, I’m going to miss that guy," Romanofsky said.

The investigation is ongoing but as the CHP officer says, they would welcome help from the public.

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