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Man killed in hit-and-run, not beaten

August 6, 2009 7:51:05 AM PDT
A man police first believed to have been beaten to death are saying he was a victim of a hit-and-run.The unconscious man was found early Thursday morning near Garth Avenue and Guthrie Avenue in the South Robertson area of Los Angeles.

A neighbor who was home at about 10:30 Wednesday night says she heard people trying to help the person in the alley next just outside her door. Investigators say when they arrived the Hispanic man was found lying unconscious on the pavement. The man died later at a local hospital.

Investigators initially thought the man may have been murdered. They now believe he was the victim of a hit-and-run.

People who were working in the alley at the time of the accident told Eyewitness News they saw the victim walking. They say they saw two men in a Nissan Pathfinder speed into the alley. Witnesses say that car hit the victim, and then drove off.

Police have arrested the driver, Miguel Martinez. Martinez faces felony hit-and-run charges, which he could have avoided had he stopped.

"It appears to be an accident. However, in this case the person, rather than stopping to render aid, fled the scene," said Captain Ruben De La Torre. "Had he stayed, of course, it may have been different."

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