HIGHLAND PARK (CBSLA.com) — Police in Highland Park have nabbed the 21-year-old driver they suspect struck a bicyclist Friday morning and left him to die in the street.
Witnesses told police that at around 3 a.m. two bicyclists were either walking their bikes or riding them across the intersection in the 400 block of Figueroa Street when a speeding black sedan slam into the victim, the Los Angeles Police Department reports.
Police told CBS2/KCAL9’s Kara Finnstrom that the driver never attempted to slow down or stop, dragging the bicyclist 500 feet before he dislodged from the vehicle.
A witness estimated the sedan was traveling at around 80 miles per hour at the time of impact, according to California Highway Patrol.
“It’s one of the most heinous crimes, because when an accident happens we all know we’re supposed to stop, call 911 and render aid,” LAPD Capt. Jeff Burt said. “And when that doesn’t happen, particularly with such horrendous and tragic results, it’s a sad day.”
The second bicyclist tried to follow the sedan but he managed to get away.
Witnesses say they tried to help the victim but there was nothing they could do.
The 33-year-old bicyclist — described as a homeless man — died at the scene.
Parts of the bicycle and the suspect’s car were left scattered on the road as officers temporarily closed off the intersection. The sedan’s bumper was apparently torn off in the collision.
Police canvassed the area to see if any security video may have captured the suspect’s vehicle.
CBS2’s Cristy Fajardo said police are crediting the public with helping them nab a suspect.
CBS2/KCAL9 was the only station there when 21-year-old Alexis Virto was apprehended.
Police said the suspect drove about 200 feet trying to shake the victim off his windshield. They said the victim was dragged another 300 feet.
They said Virto then dumped the car, met his girlfriend, went home and went to sleep.
A tip about an abandoned car led them to Virto, police said. He lives about six blocks away from where the vehicle was recovered, officials said.
LAPD Detective Johnny Meneses said that nearly six hours after the crash, the suspect was highly intoxicated and still had glass and debris in his hair from the windshield.