Merced police searching for car involved in fatal hit and run

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A 50-year-old Merced woman is dead after a car hit her while on her bike, and sped off.

Merced police say it happened along G and 18th streets on Friday night. In speaking with witnesses and looking at surveillance video , Sgt. Dan Dabney said the car had the green light, and the bicyclist was riding against the red light when she was struck.

"From the video we did get, the car did stop and then sped off after. I think they knew they hit somebody, but for whatever reason, did not stick around," Dabney said.

Officers wouldn't release the name of the victim, but a witness who lives near the scene said the woman's name was Natalie Wood. Friends said she lived in an apartment complex near G street where she was a care provider to neighbor, Maureen Gray.

"I'm still grieving over it now, I don't know what to do," Gray said.

Crystal Stewart found out about her friend's death a day after the collision.

"She pretty much stayed to herself . Everybody in this complex, we all stick together so it was a shock to all of us," Stewart said.

Police said this makes the 11th fatal collision of the year, a big increase from the 3 they had in 2017.

Along with the search for Friday's suspect, they're still looking for another hit and run suspect from an incident in October along Childs.

"The majority of our collisions have been vehicle versus pedestrian, or vehicle versus cyclist," Dabney said.

Rojelia Rodriguez works near the scene. She didn't see the accident, but said she's not surprised because there's often close calls along the intersection.

I've seen people standing in the middle of the road. People talking to themselves. It doesn't surprise me," Rodriguez said.

The car in Friday's incident was last seen going north on G Street. Officers believe it's a gold or tan car , and 1998 to 2000 model Toyota Corolla.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Police Department.
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