Hit-and-Run Suspect Turns Self In

A suspect in the hit and run death of a cyclist along North Coast Highway has turned himself in, according the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept.

James Steven Swarzman, 47, of Encino, was riding with a small group of bicyclists in Leucadia around 1 a.m. Sunday when a Dodge Ram struck him and fled the scene, investigators said.

Carlsbad resident Joseph Ricardo Fernandez, 46, contacted Carlsbad police on Monday and told them he was possibly involved in a collision, deputies said. Police determined the vehicle, a Dodge Ram 1500, was similar to the suspect vehicle.

Fernandez was arrested at 11.15 p.m. Monday, deputies said. His vehicle was impounded as evidence.

“The damage to the vehicle was consistent with the evidence obtained at the scene of the collision,” said Sgt. Mark W. O'Connor.

Fernandez was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on a charge of felony hit-and-run.

“The investigation is still ongoing and additional charges may be filed,” said Sgt. O'Connor.

Swarzman, an avid cyclist, was transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla via Mercy Air and was pronounced dead three hours after the accident.

A witness following the truck just before the collision said the vehicle drifted between the middle of the No. 1 and No. 2 lanes before striking Swarzman from behind, deputies said.

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