Last night around 11 p.m. in the southeastern corner of L.A. County, a hit-and-run driver left 19-year-old Jose de Jesus Mendoza Jr. dead in an area of Commerce known for street racing.
Sheriff's investigators from the East Los Angeles Station are describing the vehicle that hit Mendoza as a dark pickup truck -- not typically used for racing, but...
... "there is a possibility that it could have been street racing," Lieutenant Tim Carr tells City News Service.
The coroner identifies victim as a resident of Bell Gardens, and says the 19-year-old died at the scene of the crash.
The suspected pickup hit Mendoza near the Eastern Avenue intersection with Randolph Street as it raced down Randolph, investigators say. Streets in that area are ideal for racing because they run through an entirely industrial sector of Commerce, making for wide roadways and little foot traffic -- especially at night.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Mendoza "was in the middle of the road when the vehicle struck him at a high rate of speed." Witnesses reportedly said that a street race had been underway.
Anyone with any additional information about the hit-and-run should call the local sheriff's station at (323) 264-4151.
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Update: Lieutenant Sam Arellano tells LA Weekly that Mendoza was "in the roadway" when he was killed. Arellano confirms that he has "heard rumors that occasionally there is racing around there."