Tip leads to arrest in fatal hit and run accident

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By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer

MESA, Ariz. - The driver responsible for a fatal hit-and-run accident on Sunday is now in police custody facing multiple charges.

With little information to go on, Mesa police asked the public for help and it was a Mesa resident who spotted a vehicle matching a witness' description in the parking lot of her apartment complex.

She reported the suspicious vehicle to police, which led to the arrest of Jose DeJesus Padilla-Rodriquez, 26.

Police found the vehicle, a green Toyota Celica, with windshield damage, dents on the front fender, broken driver's side window and both side mirrors missing. In fact when they arrived at the complex a glass repair company has a work order to replace the windshield.

The registered owner of the car told investigators he had lent his vehicle to Padilla-Rodriguez, a friend, on Saturday night. Padilla-Rodriguez had even told his friend the car had been stolen.

Padilla-Rodriquez admitted to being the driver of the vehicle and told investigators he was aware he had struck the pedestrians and did not stop to help.

Around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, two 25-year-old males, who have yet to be identified, were crossing the street near Country Club Drive and Broadway Road when they were struck.

Calls to police indicated one of the pedestrians was not breathing and when police arrived both men were unresponsive. They were transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Witnesses observed the car driving east on Broadway Road in the curb lane as it passed another vehicle going faster then the posted speed limit.

There were pieces of the car left at the scene. Investigators aren't sure how many were in the car at the time of the accident.

One of the victims died from his injuries and the second man is still listed in critical condition.

According to Mesa police, the deceased victim suffered extensive injuries, including a severed left leg.

On Thursday afternoon, investigators located the victim's lower leg on the roof of a building approximately 160 feet from the point of collision.

Padilla-Rodriquez faced two counts of failure to stop at a serious injury or fatal collision and two counts of failure to remain at a serious injury or fatal collision.