Searching for suspect who ran down a military veteran in Fresno

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Detectives say the suspect, had to have seen 83-year-old Jose Rodriguez before the impact because of the trail of skid marks left behind. (KFSN)

The center median where a portion of Jose Rodriguez's motorized wheelchair flew out from under him in all different directions is filled with balloons and candles honoring his memory. Fresno police say physical evidence left at the scene is providing some clues.

Joe Gomez with the Fresno Police Department said, "The skid mark was extensive, so the skid led right into him when it hit him."

Tuesday, the search continued for the unidentified light-complected man, in his 40's with long dark hair, who was driving a white Chevy or Dodge extra cab pickup truck. Fresno police released pictures of what the body style may look like. One witness was adamant the white truck had black rims and drivers side, front end damage. Investigators are working off the few leads they have.


Gomez explained, "The truck, the suspect vehicle, the license plate holder had Visalia on it so believing it could have been sold recently from Visalia, we're contacting Visalia. A lot of significant legwork. These are conducted just like murder investigations."

An autopsy conducted Tuesday morning showed the army veteran died from blunt force trauma to the upper body and pelvis. Investigators are still calculating the speed the driver was traveling down Cedar. Officers say it was way over the 40 mile an hour speed limit.

Detectives also want to track down to the driver of a grey Acura -- to find out more about the circumstances that led to the crash. Some witnesses have said the pickup appeared to be racing the Acura.

"It could be just a witness, or they could be involved in the racing," said Gomez. "It was described as either racing with the white truck or one was trying to overtake the other."

The victim's family members spent the day figuring out how to pay for funeral expenses and raise money to send Rodriguez to Arizona to be buried near his late wife.

Fresno police say a witness who was behind the driver is certain the truck has grill and bumper damage. If you have any information, please call Fresno police.
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