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CHP Seeking Driver in El Rio Fatality

September 26, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

California Highway Patrol officers said Thursday they were closing in on a motorist who struck and killed a 16-month-old child in El Rio this week and then fled the scene.

"We have some good leads and our investigators are working very hard," said CHP spokesman Steve Reid.

Francisco Jesus Morales was chasing after some children in his uncle's courtyard Wednesday when the driver ran over him with his truck, officials said.

The victim's mother, who was standing nearby, scooped up her injured child and screamed at the driver to stop. The boy was pronounced dead at St. John's Regional Medical Center a short time later.

Witnesses described the driver as a Hispanic male, 40 to 50 years old, 5 feet 7, 170 pounds, with a stocky, muscular build. Anyone with information is asked to call the CHP at 477-4100.

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