A San Diego County sheriff's deputy, in pursuit of a suspected drunk driver, struck and killed a man in San Marcos Tuesday.
Deputy Frank Stalzer sped up to get closer to a driver he believed to be driving under the influence on West San Marcos Boulevard around 1:30 a.m. when the collision occurred officials said.
The pedestrian, Jose Malacara, who may have been a worker at one of the nearby restaurants in an area known as Old California Restaurant Row, stepped off the median and was hit immediately by the oncoming deputy’s patrol car.
"It was one of his biggest fears getting hit by a car," said Cody Panzera, a friend of Malacara's since middle school. "It's insane to me that that's how it happened."
Friends said Malacara worked at the Penny Lane Pub and Grill as cook and was getting off work.
Stalzer had not yet activated the patrol car's lights and siren according to a department spokesperson. He is a veteran of the department assigned to traffic enforcement.
Stalzer was questioned after the crash at the nearby San Marcos Station.
Jan Caldwell, spokesperson for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, said the deputy felt horrible that while trying to catch what he thought was a DUI driver, he took another life.
“Very hard for him. It goes against everything they’ve trained to do,” Caldwell said.
Stalzer is pretty shaken up and will take couple days off according to Caldwell.
There won't be any other punishment because at this time looks like a "horrible, horrible accident," she said.
A sign in the door of the Penny Lane Pub and Grill said it was closed today due to the death a family member.