San Diego

Vista Teen Struck, Killed on Way Home from Math Tutor

An oncoming SUV swerved, trying to miss the teen but hit him and kept on going according to witnesses

Jose Maldonado's father said his son was always punctual when coming home from his math tutoring sessions.

So when his 17-year-old son did not come home on time Monday night and did not answer his phone, family members knew something was wrong.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies said the teen was killed by a 22-year-old hit and run driver on North Santa Fe Avenue and E. East Drive.

“He was very energetic with a big heart and beautiful smile,” said Maldonado's brother, Fernando Maldonado. “All he cared about was his school, football, just a regular kid. His life ended way too short.”

Some of Maldonado’s family and friends gathered Tuesday night for a memorial on the intersection where Maldonado was killed.

They left a curbside memorial of flowers, candles and other mementos in his honor.

Some hugged each other to help ease the pain, others bowed their heads in reflection.

“I wish he was here and wish it wasn’t him,” said longtime friend Ashley Figueroa.

His pair of shoes in the crosswalk of North Santa Fe Avenue and E. East Drive showed the impact of the collision that killed Maldonado.

Witnesses who talked to investigators said after getting off the bus, Maldonado began jaywalking toward the crosswalk.

They said an oncoming SUV swerved, trying to miss him, but hit him and kept on going.

“You should have stopped," said Maldonado's other brother Cesar. "Hit and run is no excuse. You could have saved my brother’s life if you wouldn’t have done that cowardly move and drove off."

Now family members are trying to raise money through a GoFundMe page for the teen’s funeral. They said he was supposed to graduate from El Camino High this school year.

“He was always full of energy and wanted to work on cars," said Cesar. "Sadly, sadly, he passed away too young and I  really wanted to see him grow older."

A 22-year-old transient man out of San Marcos was arrested in connection with the hit and run.

Deputies said alcohol does not appear to be a factor.

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