A 32-year-old La Jolla man died in the early hours of Thursday, April 21, after being struck by an apparent hit-and-run driver on North Torrey Pines Road, police said. On April 22, a 23-year-old Mira Mesa man was taken into custody after San Diego police officers responded to an anonymous phone call telling them where the car involved in the accident could be found.
According to Sgt. Jeff Fellows, officers received a telephone tip-off that led them to a home in Mira Mesa. The car was not there, but detectives approached a man at the address who said he had made the phone call and that the car - his son’s - could be found at another address.
Police moved on to the new location where they found 23-year-old Omega Temegsen with a bucket of hot soapy water, about to wash his damaged white Honda Accord, which Fellows said was almost certainly the vehicle involved in the accident.
“You only had to look at the car for about three seconds to realize this is the car,” said Fellows. “It’s the description that we put out. It’s exactly what we said it was, a white two-door Honda Accord. It had blood spatters on it.”
Temegsen and a companion who was found with him accompanied police voluntarily to an interview. Temegsen was subsequently taken into custody and arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run.
According to police and a coroner’s report, the victim, Robert Jefferson Nelson, appeared to have been lying in the road when the car struck him. Fellows said that such an accident is not as unusual as it might seem, as people sometimes fall unconscious into the path of oncoming traffic as a result of seizures or alcohol or drug consumption.
Fellows said that a driver involved in such an accident should always stay at the scene, and that doing otherwise raises the bar in terms of the seriousness of the incident. In this case, he said, the driver of the vehicle shot himself in the foot.
“Once he knew he had become involved in a collision,” said Fellows, “he did not stop, he did not contact the police department, he did not even stop to find out what it was he hit. He just drove away.”