Neighbor Says She Tried to Warn Toddler's Mother

A hit-and-run driver who struck and killed an 18-month old toddler Wednesday night in San Marcos is still at large.

Christopher Castellanos was hit just before 6 p.m. on the 400 block of Smilax Road. According to an investigator, the toddler's father had just come home from work and had not yet had a chance to close their driveway gate. He wandered out into the street and was hit by a car, according to investigators.

Christopher was taken to Children's Hospital by an air ambulance, but later died.

Neighbors said the young victim's family had just moved into a trailer on Smilax Road about a month ago, and often saw the toddler wandering unattended near the street.

One neighbor said that she tried to warn Christopher's mother that the little boy was wandering dangerously close to the street, but the warning fell on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, residents are voicing concern that their complaints about the busy street have fallen on deaf ears.

"As a parent, I was horrified," said Elizabeth Medrano, who has lived on Smilax Road for 17-years. "The reality of it is something ugly and tragic has happened. An innocent young baby, his life was taken and it's horrible it had to come to that.

Less than 24-hours after the accident, cars could be seen driving at excessive speeds on Smilax Rd, even as parents walked their young children to a nearby school. There are no sidewalks on the street where the accident happened.

Medrano said the street is right on the border of two north county cities. She said one side of the street is in Vista, the other side is in San Marcos. She says she thinks neither city wants to take responsibility for any traffic calming measures on the street. A spokesperson for the city of Vista said the road is under the jurisdiction of the County and the city of San Marcos.  A spokesperson from the city of San Marcos said she has not received any complaints about speed in the area.  A phone call to the county was not immediately returned.

Deputies who collected evidence at the scene of the accident are searching for a black, four-door sedan. It has tinted windows, with no decals or logos on the rear of the car. Deputies said it has a reflective license plate.

A Sheriff' department traffic investigator said the hit and run driver likely would not have been cited had he simply stopped. The accident would not have been the driver's fault.

Anyone with information about the case is being urged to contact the sheriff's department at 858-565-5200.

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