DIAMOND SPRINGS — Strangers were seen laying flowers at a Diamond Springs intersection where police say an 87-year-old man was fatally hit while crossing the street.
“The driver did not stay at the scene and actually by a witness was said to have just kept on driving,” said CHP Officer Andrew Brown.
CHP officials along with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office found parts of the car left behind at the scene at Missouri Flat Road and Halyard Lane, where Gottfried Brunner was hit and killed.
Ricardo Rosas, 45, was taken into custody without incident at a nearby gas station after officers matched the damage on his vehicle to what was found at the hit-and-run scene.
Brunner’s family reached out to FOX40 but say they are too heartbroken to speak about him at this time. They said he was a giving person and a World War II veteran.
When FOX40 visited the Rosas family home in Diamond Springs a family member answered the door. The man, who identified himself as Rosas’ son, opened up when FOX40 asked him about the hit-and-run.
“No, it was not intentional at all,” Jairo Rosas said. “It was dark and he couldn’t see.”
Jairo Rosas said his father thought he had hit a deer.
“He thought it was like a deer or something because we’ve encountered a lot of deer around here and we’ve hit some with this car also,” he said pointing.
But regardless of intention, the Brunner family is suffering a tremendous loss.
“We’re really sorry for that,” Jairo Rosas said crying. “It wasn’t intentional.”
Now, CHP officials are urging drivers to pay more attention so no other family will have to suffer the pain of losing a loved one to a hit-and-run.
“Look for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially on rural roads like this that don’t have wide shoulders, they’re out there,” Brown said. “And it causes tragic, tragic consequences like we saw yesterday.”
CHP officials confirm Ricardo Rosas was released on bail. He faces a felony hit-and-run charge. They say the investigation at this point is still ongoing.