REDLANDS (CBSLA) – An 82-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run crash which killed a Redlands crossing guard back in October.
Joseph Andrew Arroya of Big Bear was pulled over and later charged Tuesday night on a single count of felony hit-and-run in the death of 48-year-old Leonard Gilberto Ortiz, according to Redlands police.
On the morning of Oct. 16, Ortiz was riding his moped when a truck ran a red light at the intersection of Orange Street and Colton Avenue and careened into him. The truck then sped away onto the westbound 10 Freeway.
Ortiz was rushed to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he died.
Using surveillance images and forensic evidence, investigators identified the suspect vehicle as a dark-green Ford Ranger with a camper shell, police said.
Police offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, and thanks to a tip from the public, investigators located the suspect truck and pulled it over Tuesday night. The driver, Arroya, agreed to go to the police department to be interviewed, where he was eventually booked.
Ortiz, affectionately known as “Bam Bam,” worked as a crossing guard near Lugonia Elementary and Clement Middle schools. He was known for offering a big bubbly smile and a “good morning” to every child and adult he came in contact with.
“You felt like you were part of his family just by passing him every morning,” student Antoine Rodriguez told CBS2 at a vigil following Ortiz’s death.
His wife Tracy told CBS2 she doesn’t understand how her husband of 19 years could suddenly be gone.
“He was the man everybody loved to go by, they went out of their way to see the crossing guard, the smiling, happy crossing guard that waved to everybody,” she said.
Arroya is being held on $50,000 bail at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.