Suspect In Deadly Hit-And-Run Turns Himself In

LA MIRADA (CBS) — The suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash turned himself in Tuesday evening, the same day that he allegedly killed a La Mirada man while he was crossing the street.

Jeffrey Rocha, 27, and his attorney went to the Norwalk Sheriff’s station and surrendered to police shortly after 5 p.m. Rocha is not the registered owner of the car that was found near the scene of the accident.

Sheriff’s deputies will not say whether they believe the car was stolen.

Raul Quintanilla, who was in his 70s, was hit while on a walk in the area of  Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Olive Branch Drive about 4 a.m., according to sheriff’s Sgt. Ralph Gama of the Norwalk Station.

la mirada hit and run1 Suspect In Deadly Hit And Run Turns Himself In

(credit: CBS)

“Yeah, it’s pretty tragic…I’ve got eight days before my birthday,” said the victim’s son, fighting back tears.

Quintanilla died at the scene.

“He said, ‘I’ll be right back, I’m going for a walk,'” said Quintanilla’s wife, who had been married to the victim for 50 years.

Quintanilla had recently retired after working as a chef for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

He normally took his walk in the evening but Tuesday he decided told his wife he felt like taking an early-morning walk.

Investigators said the driver made no effort to slow down after the crash.

The car was found a mile and a half away from the accident, with the windshield shattered on the right hand side. Investigators placed a trail of cones, markers for where they found blood footprints, leading away from the car.

la mirada hit and run3 Suspect In Deadly Hit And Run Turns Himself In

(credit: CBS)

Additional evidence was found in the opposite direction from the accident, about a mile away. 

Law enforcement interviewed the registered owner of the car earlier Tuesday but determined that the actual suspect was still at large.

“The person who did this, by the look of the car, they absolutely know they hit somebody,” said Sgt. Brian Doyle, of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. “They intentionally did not stop and kept going.”

Comments

One Comment

  1. Joe Maier says:

    This is a tragic accident and I feel for the family of the victum. The reporter siad that the driver of the car will be charged with murder. This is not murder it is an accident. I am sure the driver was scared and left the scene for that reason.Tough talk from the news media but this is a Manslaughter case which I believe carries a sentence of 2-4 or 6 years.

    1. Rocha Should Fry says:

      No, this is murder. It’s definitely murder by all accounts and definitions of the law. You should look into it a little more, Joe. You might learn a thing or two. Of course, if it’s just your OPINION that this should not be a murder case, then that’s one thing. But according to the laws of the land, this tragic and senseless killing of Mr. Quintanilla is certainly murder, and I hope prosecutors attack Mr. Rocha that way.

      1. The Truth says:

        YOU should actually do your homework son, if you knew anything about how the law works it’s that every facet of this ACCIDENT will be covered and when it’s all said and done the only things Rocha will be charged with is failure to stop and negligence. He won’t do hard time and certainly won’t be “fried”.
        Get some sense into your thick skull next time before you look like a complete moron.
        Continue to have a sad pathetic life, tool

      2. Joey Quintero says:

        It’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and comment on an ACCIDENT that the media likes to, for lack of a better term, enhance for idiotic comments like yours bud. Geoff had the biggest heart of anyone i have known. Always there when family or friends needed him and also my family knowing the Rocha family personally for over 20 years (i proudly consider them family) and living down the street from them and also from the crime scene (where just so you know Mr. Sympathetic), his older brother and friend were killed by an intoxicated driver earlier this year. And no one could say we would know what to do after hitting someone (no,not even you guy). Would you really stay close by to a body that you just hit? Natural reaction is that you hurt someone and to run. No one thinks about the legal conviction if whether they stay or leave the scene. And it’s not like he was leaving from a crazy night of partying, he was on his way home from work. And not to justify this poor mans death but he was jaywalking at 4am where in that specific cross street, the street is foggy at that time from the nearby lake from the golfcourse. And even following the speed limit of 45 mph and considering the age of the man, he probably would have died, unfortunately. Oh and not to mention that same street has claimed the most deaths in La Mirada over the past 5-7 years. 2 of them being close family friends and one family member. Learn some facts behind the story before (excuse my language) opening your f@cking mouth. Geoff Rocha is not some heartless murderer that the media is trying to paint him to be. He is a brieving brother, loving father and friend.

      3. Blessings to the Rochas says:

        I feel sorry for you. My son grew up with Jeff and they are still very close friends. YOU, obviously don’t know Jeff and God forgive you for these hateful and judgmental remarks you are making. He was coming home from work SOBER. This family has been grieving the loss of Jeff’s older brother. This young man panicked and, yes, ran because he was in shock. He turned himself in while it was being reported that he had not.

      4. Caitlin says:

        Oh, and “Rocha Should Fry,” it ISN’T murder. By law, it’s manslaughter, hit and run, and fleeing the scene of an accident. If you research, you will see that this situation does not fit the qualifiers for either First or Second degree murder. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure you know what you’re talking about before you say. Keeps one from looking stupid.

      5. Caitlin says:

        See my comment below. It’s not first or second degree murder, by definition. It is vehicular manslaughter. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact that you can look up and verify. This is tragic, but it’s not murder.

  2. Darrell Nelson says:

    how can you not have a lead ??? who did the owner loan the car to ? oh well, he is in mexico already. and thats not racist…thats fact.

    1. Joey Quintero says:

      Actually he turned himself in shortly before you posted your comment. That’s a FACT. Another fact is his brother was killed in an attempted hit and run on that very same intersection several months ago, but his brothers so-called “killer” could not drive away so he was caught (BTW and did not have a broken bone in his body yet Rocha’s brother and friends were pronounced dead at the scene and were not under the influence) For one he wasn’t drunk or high or under the influence of anything. He was coming home from work. He did the honorable thing (that I guarantee most of these idiots WOULD NOT DO) and turned himself in because he knows that what he did (although an accident, based on REAL FACTS) was wrong.

      1. Astonished says:

        I understand that Rocha is your friend, and he IS probably a good person, however, I strongly disagree with you when you say that the normal reaction is to run after you hurt someone. That is not a normal response from a responsible person. The normal response is to stop and see what your car hit. The decision to stay or leave sits solely on the driver and his conscience. Take a look at the level of damage to the vehicle he was driving and compare it to the object he hit (an adult human). The impact was so hard it actually curled the right front corner of the roof right at the door post. A part of the vehicle which is very strong. That indicates a high rate of speed. Your friend may not have been drunk or high, but he certainly WAS NOT paying attention to the road. And as for turning himself in the next day isn’t necessarily honorable. It might have been the honest thing to do, but remaining at the accident scene and calling 9-1-1 would have been far more honorable. I’m glad your friend turned himself in, but not having run in the first place was what he should have done.

      2. WHY RUN? says:

        He shouldn’t have had to turn himself in, he should have STAYED!…FACT!
        Was Mr. Quintanilla pronounced dead at the scene? Would he be alive today if help would have arrived sooner by the honorable driver who ran? Honorable would be to stay and help whatever it was he thought (and knew) he hit….
        Prayers and thoughts to the friends and family of Mr. Quintanilla.

    2. Sparky says:

      Oh, that’s right, it’s fact because you were there. Stupid, worthless bigot is what you are.

  3. Steve says:

    The article is talking facts, not talking tough. Hitting the victim is an accident. Leaving the scene is murder. Most likely drivers run because they were intoxicated. This would make it not an accident.

    1. Rocha Should Fry says:

      Exactly, Steve. People run from these scenes because they’re guilty of something else, which usually involves drugs and/or alcohol. Therefore, if that’s the case, and it likely is, Mr. Rocha committed murder. He probably ran full well knowing that he must clean his system of whatever was impairing his driving that night. Now that he’s “sober” he turned himself in, that way there is no evidence of his impairment. I hope this guy goes down and goes down hard.

      1. rich says:

        actually i would think he would do better if he had stoped while he was drunk if in fact he was.. this is my thinking if he is trying to cover the fact he was on something drugs or booze and make it look like he was sober and just ran that would go harder on him i would think after all a sober person who runs has less excuse as to why he was not thinking straight where as if he was bombed drunk and stoped and his B.A.L. was through the roof then his lawyer would more easily argue that he was not in his right mind and therefore argue better for it being an accident

      2. Joey Quintero says:

        Wow you guys are really smart. Letting the media do your thinking for you. Seriously get the real FACTS before making a stupid comment. Actually he was neither drunk or high. He was coming home from work where he works security at a bar. And doubt he would be under the influence considering his older brother Greg and friend Jason were killed just several months ago at the same crossroads by a drunk driver. That street (especially at that time 4am) is a very foggy street and nearly impossible to see at times. Geoff has the biggest heart of anyone i have known and he panicked. No one can say they would have stopped to help someone you just hit, until you are put in that same situation. Prayers go out to that mans family but not to justify this poor mans death but he was jaywalking at 4am where in that specific cross street, the street is foggy at that time from the nearby lake from the golfcourse. And even following the speed limit of 45 mph and considering the age of the man, he probably would have died, unfortunately. Not to mention that same street has claimed the most deaths in La Mirada over the past 5-7 years. Most crimes are eventually decided if there is a motive or intent. If neither is found, a lesser sentence is given. As in this case. And that’s law and fact, Jerkoff

  4. Rocha Should Fry says:

    You’re sad and pathetic, BD.

  5. wow says:

    Not to excuse what he did, but at least his conscious got to him. Shows some resemblance to a human being. Time to pay the fiddler.

    1. Jeezus says:

      maybe but my first guess was he was drunk or on drugs so he had to ditch the stuff or sober up before turning himself in to maybe lessen the charges

      1. Joey Quintero says:

        Actually he was neither. He was coming home from work where he works security at a bar. And doubt he would be under the influence considering his older brother Greg and friend Jason were killed just several months ago at the same crossroads by a drunk driver. That street (especially at that time 4am) is a very foggy street and nearly impossible to see at times. Geoff has the biggest heart of anyone i have known and he panicked. No one can say they would have stopped to help someone you just hit, until you are put in that same situation. Prayers go out to that mans family but not to justify this poor mans death but he was jaywalking at 4am where in that specific cross street, the street is foggy at that time from the nearby lake from the golfcourse. And even following the speed limit of 45 mph and considering the age of the man, he probably would have died, unfortunately. Not to mention that same street has claimed the most deaths in La Mirada over the past 5-7 years. Most crimes are eventually decided if there is a motive or intent. If neither is found, a lesser sentence is given. As in this case.

  6. BC says:

    A death during the commission of a crime (if the car was stolen) changes the charges against the driver.

  7. RW says:

    If this were a police officer that died, the SWAT team, CSI, FBI, and the National guards would have been all over the place searching. I am suprised this even got one iota of News attention.

    1. WHY RUN? says:

      If someone (said driver) was paying FULL attention to the road at 4am, in foggy conditions, not going 45 mph in FOG…..Maybe this would not have happend?!

  8. David Catz says:

    Elderly and disabled people have civil rights. They need the protection of our laws the same as children do. The victim, an elderly man is dead as the result of the flight of the arrogant driver. Enhance Rocha’s murder charge! Send the message that committing any crime against an elder person is going to earn you a severe punishment.

    1. Joey Quintero says:

      Oh shut it moron. Know the facts before opening your mouth. Rocha ran because he panicked (as any of us would have panicked) and no one can truly say what they would do if they hit someone. And no we wasn’t under the influence of anything. FACT: He was coming home from work where he works security at a bar. FACT: And doubt he would be under the influence considering his older brother Greg and friend Jason were killed just several months ago at the SAME CROSSROADS by a drunk driver. FACT: That street (especially at that time 4am) is a very foggy street and nearly impossible to see at times. ALSO FACT: Geoff has the biggest heart of anyone i have known and he panicked. No one can say they would have stopped to help someone you just hit, until you are put in that same situation. Prayers go out to that mans family but not to justify this poor mans death but FACT: he was jaywalking at 4am where in that specific cross street, the street is foggy at that time from the nearby lake from the golfcourse. OPINION: And even following the speed limit of 45 mph and considering the age of the man, he probably would have died, unfortunately. FACT: Not to mention that same street has claimed the most deaths in La Mirada over the past 5-7 years. OH LAST FACT!: Most crimes are eventually decided if there is a motive or intent. If neither is found, a lesser sentence is given. As in this case. Wish they had an internet sentence for arrogant comments like yours. Jerkoffs

      1. Gus Rodriguez says:

        you know i see your point but can you see our point too ? he was my uncle and he was in a legal crossing and your friend should have stopped and tried to get help no matter what shape he was in if he nothing to hide ! have some compassion and try not to defend him soo much he will get his day in court and be judged by his own peers and then we will all know!

      2. LM Mommy says:

        Gus, I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about your posts. Bottom line is your family lost a loving husband, father, uncle and from what I understand was a great neighbor. I live in the same neighborhood as your Aunt and Uncle and my condolences go out to you and your entire family. The loss of Raul was tragic and I am deeply sorry for your loss and the hurtful comments of some people.
        Joey, another large part of my sleeplessness last night was your posts here and on all the other articles under other screen names. I know they are you as you basically are saying the same thing. My heart breaks for Geoff’s mother and father as they lost one son and now the other has made a life altering mistake.
        However when you refer to Jason and Greg’s accident you left out that when the other car pulled out in front of Jason on March 5th from Lawnhill it was due to the speed Jason was going he lost control of his vehicle and slammed into the pole/tree and brick wall. The police estimated that Jason was traveling approximately 80-100 mph…I remember reading that Jason had alcohol in his system. THIS does not excuse the other motorists behavior by drinking and driving. BUT there were many factors that played into that accident… many of which you are leaving out. You also left out that a “friend” of Jason and Greg’s left a bag of weed and a joint at the memorial site with a note saying “to have one where they were now.” Mind you the memorial site is less than a mile from a high school and middle school. To me it says a lot about the types of friends Jason and Greg had and their mentality – leaving a bag of weed and joint just screams “PARTY” to me. AGAIN, not to excuse anyones behavior or the fact that a two young men were killed, BUT it is another “fact” that you left out on one of your many 2am posts.
        If Geoff was leaving a security job at a bar why was he driving home at 4AM? Bars close at 2am, with maybe an hour worth of side work (if that)…. Are you sure he wasn’t getting stoned or drinking with buddies after the bar closed? Were you there or are you so hell bent on defending your buddy that you are blind to the fact that he may have been in the wrong here and made a terrible, terrible mistake? Also, the car Geoff was driving was registered to someone else. Why? Do you have any “facts” on that? Was it stolen? Why didn’t he have a car registered to him? Does he have a past DUI or something? The police see this kind of thing daily and I’m sure upon completion of a thorough investigation they will hand over all the details to the DA so Geoff can be charged formally.
        Raul was not crossing illegally; he was crossing in what is called an “unmarked crosswalk” and it totally legal. Also if it was so foggy Geoff shouldn’t have been going the speed limit of 45 mph. The posted speed is what is “safe” based on good weather conditions, drivers need to drive slower if there is fog or rain which makes the street less safe. Your comment “considering the age of the man, he probably would have died” is a rough statement to make. How would you feel if it was your father, uncle or brother that was struck and LEFT IN THE STREET? I understand you wish to defend your friend, but look at the big picture. Lastly I saw the car that stuck Raul, there is no way Geoff was going anywhere near the posted speed limit.
        Actually if I hit a dog I would stop, so saying human nature is to run once again shows your level of maturity and lack of responsible thinking. As does your cussing and name calling. Bottom line is Geoff clearly was in the wrong and knew it. Even if he wasn’t drinking or stoned he struck a human being and didn’t even call 911 to get that human being help. One does not have to be a brain surgeon to put the facts together here. He turned himself in because he got wind that he was named on an arrest warrant and then turned himself in WITH his ATTORNEY present. So I am assuming here, but I’m pretty sure he has NOT disclosed the events of the night that occurred prior to striking Raul and leaving him dead in the street to the police. Although I’m pretty positive you know what actually happened as does his attorney.
        This all being said, my heart goes out to the Rocha family and friends and even to you. Although your posts come across as harsh and one sided I truly believe you love your friend and his family. I wish you and his family peace and positive thoughts through this very trying journey.

  9. Timothy McGarry says:

    If anyone’s counting, this is about the 10th hit and run fatality this summer. Lotta drinkin’.

  10. ??? says:

    We all have a right to go anywhere we want at any time, and it is so sad that this man died. But going out at 4am, can sometimes lead to bad things…crime or accidents etc. Rest in peace.

  11. Up2Godnow says:

    Miss Rocha’s just lost her other son at that same light a few months back.. He was killed by a drunk driver. Geoff Rocha is grief stricken and in was shock when he fled. He really was not thinking clearly.. In no way would he ever intentionally hurt anyone, this was an accident and leaving the scene was a mistake… Murder is such a harsh sentence it is not like they had to hunt him down he turned himself in…. This could have happen to any of us. You never know how you would react in this situation… Very sad for all involved.. RIP and my prayers are with Geoff and the family that lost there loved one.

  12. Caitlin says:

    I live right by by this intersection, and my father spoke to the victim while walking our dog on various occiasions. IMy heart goes out to the victim’s family. My heart also goes out to everyone else involved. Honestly, I don’t know if I would be clear headed enough after accidently killing someone to stop. I can imagine an extreme amount of panic setting in that would make thinking straight impossible. It’s easy to say, from the outside, that we would stop and do all the right things. When you’re in the situation, it can be a different story. Should the driver have stopped and called authorities. Of course. Is that the right thing to do? Obviously. Can we understand panic in that situation? I, at least, can. I am glad the driver did the right thing and turned himself in. I can only imagine the unbelievable guilt he will carry for the rest of his life. That, to me, is probably the worst punishment of all.

  13. lovemygirls says:

    Have some RESPECT people!!

  14. WHY RUN? says:

    HIT AND RUN!!!?
    Why would someone kill another person in an accident and flee? Either the driver is hiding something or has something to protect, usually themselves. It would seem that some people, if they think they can get away with something, will try, no matter the consequences. These people see right as what benefits themselves, and wrong as someone else’s problem. The realization of suddenly being responsible for the death of another human being, and a reaction, can be the ultimate test of one’s true character. “deadlyroads.com”

  15. Gus Rodriguez says:

    i see all your comments and some are nice and some are well we will leave it at that! if you need to know this was my uncle and i loved him so much and he did not deserve to die this way he was a good man to me and my brother and sister! i hope thats if you were in our shoes you would understand and think about what is said and how its said ,cause people do read this stuff and see how the mind can be! you know i thought that it always happens to other people an not us until now ,but when other people lose a loved one i do feel their pain too. thanks to all the warm comments and hope the rest of your day is a pleasant at that ! God bless you all! Gus Rodriguez

    1. Bbydoll Yvette Huerta-Renteria says:

      may good bless his familly and urs …and may he rest in peace … whatever u need will be there gus ur a good friend *hugs*

  16. Lmtchr says:

    It is very sad to read about this terrible tragedy that happened in my home town of La Mirada. It is so important that we all learn a lesson from this. Please be more careful and alert when driving, and NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE. My prayers go out to both families. I am sorry for your loss.

  17. L.D. says:

    R.I.P Mr Quitanilla

  18. Elisa says:

    I always find it funny that people rarely use their names and hide behind screens.

  19. george says:

    Very, very sad story. I live around the corner and know the area well. Most unmarked intersections are dangerous at any time of the day. Drivers speed by and rarely stop.

    My condolences to the families of both the victim and the driver. This was a very tragic accident that took the life of a man who was just out walking, and will ruin the driver’s life. I hope the driver takes responsibility for his mistake and learns from this. At least he will be able to go home to his family after he does some time. The poor gentleman walking doesn’t have that option.

  20. hleal says:

    My heart and prayers go out to this famiily! I am glad atleast the guy did turn himself in, its very sad…I live a couple blocks from the scene, i leave for work at 5 a.m and that morning, i was directed to go a different route, with tape and police everywhere, i knew it was bad! I wish people would slow down and pay attention, own up to your mistakes and do the right thing.

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