Man arrested in hit-and-run death of skateboarder

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Sheriff's Office has arrested a man in connection with a hit-and-run that killed an 18-year-old skateboarder.

Joshua David Walton, 31, of Florence, was arrested at 1 p.m. Thursday on a felony charge of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

Giovanni Saucedo was pronounced dead Monday evening at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.

The San Tan Valley resident was struck by an SUV while riding his skateboard near the curb lane of Gantzel Road before 10 p.m. Sunday, according to the sheriff's office. He was found in a dirt area near the road by his friends.

The sheriff's office received a tip Tuesday evening that eventually led detectives to Walton and a Lincoln Navigator.

Walton reportedly told detectives he thought he hit a buzzard on Combs Road while driving to a party to pick up his girlfriend.

"Whether he means like a vulture or something large like that, not that we often see them in San Tan Valley ... it doesn't add up," Sheriff Paul Babeu told 3TV.

According to the sheriff's office, Walton stayed at the party for some time.

Walton admitted he saw authorities investigating the scene when he and his girlfriend drove back down Combs Road but did not stop.

"He's saying that he was quote scared, that he knew he didn't want to get into trouble. He knew he hit something," Babeu said.

Detectives seized the Lincoln Navigator, which reportedly had damage consistent with hitting Saucedo on his skateboard. A piece of plastic found at the scene matched the vehicle.

Others who attended the party told detectives Walton was not acting normal. He reportedly told people at the party that the damage on his vehicle was from hitting an animal.

"It's horrible," said Avangelic Saucedo, the victim's sister. "I don't know how someone can still like not turn themselves in knowing that they had killed another person."

The sheriff's office said Walton has prior arrests in Montana for possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of a narcotic drug, reckless driving, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and several counts of careless driving.

In Washington, he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, driving while his license was revoked and a weapons violation.

Walton does not have a valid driver's license in Arizona.

He was booked into the Pinal County Jail.

"Our detectives worked around the clock, initially with very little suspect information to go on," Babeu said in a statement. "We were all determined to bring closure to this case for the Saucedo family after they lost their son and brother. Thanks to the help from the public, we were able to put Joshua Walton behind bars this afternoon."

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