Video shows the victim walking on the shoulder of Laguna Canyon Road leaving downtown Laguna Beach before 3:30 a.m. last Monday. Moments later a dark-colored car is seen zipping by. Police say the driver of that vehicle slammed into the man, then took off.
"The driver obviously left him for dead in the middle of the street and thank goodness the passing motorist saw him and stopped to call 911," said Laguna Beach Police Detective Spring Sendele.
The victim was identified as Shahram Mokrami-Tehrani, 51. Police say he remains in critical condition facing lifelong debilitating injuries.
Friends say Tehrani has a child in Northern California, but most of his family is still in Iran. He used to live in Corona Del Mar but recently became homeless.
"He was new to the fold, as it were, and a nice guy," said Mike Newman. "Very religious, always in his studies."
Police believe the victim was heading to a homeless shelter in Laguna Beach where he had left some of his belongings. He was hit about a mile before he got there.
The road is winding and as vehicles enter Laguna Canyon. The highway narrows to one lane in each direction.
"That's a very blind bend, it's called 'Big Bend,'" said Newman. "Everyone knows it's somewhat infamous insofar as its nature."
Police hope someone comes forward to identify the hit-and-run driver.
"We know that it's a 2-door dark-colored car, possibly a sedan or a hatchback, with chrome or lighter-colored wheels," said Sendele. "It has possible front-end damage."
Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call Laguna Beach Police at (949) 497-0369.