Derek Verdugo, 25-Year-Old From La Habra, Killed by Apparent Facebook Friend in Hit-and-Run Crash

Update: Verdugo's friends have emailed us to say that, contrary to reports, he and Ortiz were actually riding in the same car when the accident happened. One commenter says that "Derek and Ortiz were good friends for years." R.I.P.

Originally posted July 27 at 10:30 a.m.

A young man who previously attended La Habra High School was killed in a car accident with another La Habra man -- who appears to be the victim's friend on Facebook -- late Monday night.

Around 11:30 p.m., City News Service reports that 25-year-old Derek Verdugo, the victim, collided with a Nissan Sentra driven by 24-year-old Erik Nicholas Ortiz near South Towne and East Franklin Avenues, at the northeast corner of the Pomona Cemetery.

Pomona police say officers rushed to the scene after receiving reports that a vehicle had flipped and its driver had been ejected.

"During the initial investigation, it was determined that a male subject had been seen running from the scene,'' Corporal Bert Sanchez told City News. "Dispatch also began receiving prowler calls, and a search for this subject was conducted. However, these efforts were unsuccessful.''

Since then, though, investigators were able to determine that Ortiz had been the hit-and-run driver. He's being held at county jail under $50,000 bail.

On what appears to be Ortiz' Facebook profile, he's listed as a CSU Fullerton graduate and current "aircraft powerplant repairer" for the Army National Guard. Verdugo, who is online friends with Ortiz, has received a stream of regrets and "R.I.P."s on his wall today, including:

Derek Verdugo, 25-Year-Old From La Habra, Killed by Apparent Facebook Friend in Hit-and-Run Crash

Verdugo appears to have been a musician and regular Coachella head. The tagline on his Care2 profile reads: "To make this world a better place in any way that I can, and Im well on my way : )". And under "What Scares Me," he writes, "how cruel the people of the world are."

Did you know Verdugo or Ortiz, or have any idea what happened Monday night? Let us know.


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