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Hit-and-run in downtown L.A. kills Whittier man, 59

Carlos Perez, described as a doting father and grandfather, was struck crossing the street early Monday on his way to work. Police hunt for the driver of an Infiniti G35 sedan believed responsible.

April 03, 2010|By Richard Winton

For more than three decades, Carlos Perez toiled at a downtown produce market to make a better life for his family. A proud and jovial father and grandfather, he would head to work when most Angelenos were still asleep.

He would park his car in a lot on the east side of Alameda Street and walk across the wide lanes to start his 3 a.m. shift as a supervisor and driver at I&T Produce Co.

But Monday, the 59-year-old Whittier man was struck mid-street by a car with an impact so hard that shards of glass scattered everywhere from broken headlights, and the car's skirting tore off. The driver of the dark Infiniti G35 sedan, which had been traveling north, sped away and disappeared.

Workers at the truck scale and produce factories that line Alameda told police they heard the impact and thought it was a two-car collision. They found Perez dead in the street, a good distance from where he usually crossed.

His two sons and daughter said they could not understand how someone could fail to stop and help their father.

"He got dragged down the street. There was no braking or anything. He died instantly," daughter Monique Perez, 25, said Friday.

"He did not deserve this," she said. "We want justice for my dad."

She said she hopes someone comes forward to identify the driver. "Somebody knows who is responsible," she said. "Please give our family peace of mind."

When he was not working, Perez doted on his children and four grandchildren.

The day before his death, his family had barbecued and headed to Disneyland, his daughter said.

"He loved hanging out with the grandkids, listening to music and doing family-type things," she said.

She said her father was full of good humor, had a sarcastic wit and was proud of his 34-year marriage to his wife, Jeannette.

Word was out among workers in the downtown industrial business district to be on alert for the Infiniti, likely to be damaged.

Los Angeles police detectives have no eyewitnesses and few clues apart from the debris left behind, which was enough to help detectives determine that the car was a dark-colored 2005 or 2006 Infiniti G35 four-door sedan, said Det. Josephine Mapson.

"There should be damage to this vehicle," she said. "A family member, a repair shop or an insurance person is going to hear about it. Someone is going to know about this kind of damage on a car like this."

Anyone with information is asked to call Mapson or Det. Felix Padilla at (213) 972-1825.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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