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Fresno PD looking for driver involved in hit and run that killed man in wheelchair in Central Fresno

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A man in a wheelchair who died in a hit and run crash Wednesday night in Central Fresno has been identified. (KFSN)

A man in a wheelchair who died in a hit and run crash Wednesday night in Central Fresno has been identified. Christopher Varela, 54, was making his way through a crosswalk when he was killed.

Video policing cameras showed the second a dark lifted truck with chrome rims slammed into Varela. The impact appears to show the large truck jolted briefly before the driver continues southbound on Blackstone Avenue.

"What we do know is that it was a brutal collision and a collision that ultimately ended in this individual's death," said Jerry Dyer, Fresno Police Chief.

Witnesses who realized what happened almost immediately rushed over to the victim. One man bent down in the street over the lifeless body. A small crowd of bystanders gathered and a woman on a cell phone grabbed nearby cones from a construction zone to warn other motorists. It was too late to save Varela's life. The Police Chief isn't sure if Varela had the right of way, however, the driver is now responsible for failing to stop.

"Regardless of whether or not this individual in a wheelchair was in a crosswalk or not, the motorist had a legal responsibility to stop and remain at the scene and contact law enforcement or wait for our arrival."

Thursday Fresno police officers in the real time crime center reviewed the video trying to get a license plate or any other identifying information about the car or driver. They also monitored other nearby cameras to see where the truck went after the crash.

The Fresno County Sheriff Coroner's Office said Varela was homeless at the time of his death.

Related Topics:
hit and runman killedpedestrian struckfresnoFresno - Central
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