Watch video surveillance of the suspect at a gas station just after the accident. Clerks say he wanted them to call a tow truck.
A 71-year-old Clairemont man was killed in a Kearny Mesa crosswalk early Tuesday morning by a driver whom police have jailed on suspicion of D.U.I.
The man was walking on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard east of Interstate 805 just before 3 a.m.
Investigators aren't calling it hit-and-run, but what the driver did afterward appears to raise questions about his intentions.
The victim, said to be wearing dark clothing, was hit in a crosswalk at Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Convoy Street.
Police say the driver -- whom they've identified as 28-year-old Sean Alvarez, also of a Clairemont address -- stopped about 200 yards west of the collision.
Not long afterward, as seen on a surveillance videotape, Alvarez wound up in the Shell station mini-mart on the southwest corner of the intersection.
The surveillance video from cameras inside the store shows him arriving at the counter just after 2:46 a.m.
Mini-mart employees tell NBC San Diego that Alvarez asked the clerk to call him a tow truck.
But they say the clerk, seeing blood on his shirt and suspecting Alvarez was drunk, clerk refused to make the call and a brief argument ensued before Alvarez left.
A short while later, Alvarez is seen coming back into the store with a cell phone, punching up some numbers, and leaving again.
An officer driving the area in a police patrol car noticed the body lying in the road and Alvarez's badly damaged Toyota Scion Xb. He soon found Alvarez sitting on the curb outside the Shell Station.
Investigators say the Alvarez admitted to hitting the pedestrian.
"He acknowledged he was the driver of the vehicle," San Diego Police Lt. Dave Rowhowits later told reporters at the scene, "and alcohol did appear to be a factor in this collision."
Investigators are reviewing red-light camera footage captured at the intersection to see whether the pedestrian was crossing Clairemont Mesa Boulevard against the traffic signal -- or if Alvarez ran the red light.
As for how fast Alvarez's Scion was traveling at the time: "It was a relatively high-speed impact, given the trauma to the (victim's) body," says Lt. Rick O'Hanlon, of SDPD's Traffic Division. "The exact speed, we're trying to reconstruct the accident and find that out."
Alvarez is being held at the central jail downtown on $100,000 bail and faces an arraignment Thursday afternoon.
The booking count is D.U.I. resulting in bodily injury.
Prosecutors could add a count of vehicular manslaughter.
A conviction with a finding of gross negligence carries a potential 10-year sentence.
Local court records show no prior criminal cases involving Alvarez.
While medical examiner's investigators know the victim's identity, they're withholding his name pending notification of next-of-kin.
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