101-year-old man killed in Boyle Heights hit-run

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A 101-year-old man was struck and killed by an attempted hit-and-run driver during his morning walk in Boyle Heights on Wednesday.

A 101-year-old man and beloved member of the Boyle Heights community was struck and killed by an attempted hit-and-run driver during his morning walk on Wednesday.

Every morning, Jose Noriega would walk a half mile up Lorena Street to Whittier Boulevard and back.

Wednesday's walk would be his last. While crossing Lorena street, one car stopped and another - a 1997 Chevy Astro van - did not. The crash was loud enough to be heard by neighbors.

The driver, identified as 41-year-old Ricardo Avalos, of Los Angeles, took off. Passing motorists chased after him and blocked his van, so he couldn't escape.

Avalos was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter. His bail was set at $50,000. Noriega was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Neighbors say the intersection has been dangerous for years.

"Every time I hear the tires screeching, I come out to make sure it's not one of our parents or people coming to our school," said Angelica Figueroa, principal of Resurrection Catholic School.

By Wednesday night, candles were lit to mark the spot where Noriega was struck.

"Always with a smile. Such a beautiful and gentle soul," Noriega's neighbor Sister Rosa Gonzalez said.

"It's very heartbreaking to come to terms that he is no longer with us," Figueroa said.

Related Topics:
news arrest hit and run traffic fatalities Boyle Heights
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