Santa Ana hit-and-run: Suspect surrenders to police hours after fatal collision

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A hit-and-run suspect turned himself in to Santa Ana police and was booked on Thursday, the day after a man was struck and killed by an SUV at an intersection, authorities said.

Roberto Mateo Garcia, 54, was taken into custody after he surrendered at the Santa Ana Police Department, officials said. He had been sought since the fatal collision occurred about 11:18 p.m. Wednesday on a sidewalk at Warner Avenue and Lowell Street.

According to investigators, Garcia is suspected of driving a 2003 Ford Explorer Sport, license No. 5WHF583, when it hit the unidentified pedestrian.

"Garcia immediately fled the scene in the involved vehicle," police said in a statement.

The victim, who was pushing a blue cart full of recyclables when he was struck, had already succumbed to his injuries when officers found him lying in the street, a police spokesperson said.

Police said they were able to identify Garcia right away because his license plate had fallen off near the collision. Witnesses said Garcia was driving without his lights on and was swerving before hitting the victim.

The suspect's brother, Gregorio Mateo, said he convinced his brother to surrender to police because it was the right thing to do.

"If you look at his record, he doesn't have any problems. He's friendly, he's family, you know. I mean that's why I'm surprised, and that's why I'm here," he said.

Garcia was booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run causing great bodily injury or death, according to police. His vehicle was recovered in Anaheim.
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