Tragedy struck the seaside town of Laguna Niguel in the wee hours this morning, when friends tell the local Patch that 20-year-old Carlos Salas was killed just 400 feet from his house.
Orange County Sheriff's investigators say the young victim was skateboarding home from a friend's place around 3:48 a.m. when black 1998 Nissan Maxima plowed into him, dragging him southbound along Golden Lantern …
… before leaving him on the street to die. The suspect is then believed to have ditched the incriminating vehicle, because a black Nissan with extensive damage to its front left hood and the area behind its back right tire was found a quarter-mile from the scene.
Although it's registered to a Dana Park resident, O.C. County Sheriff's Department spokesman Gail tells Patch that “we don't know if the owner is the person who was driving the car at the time.”
As of 5:30 p.m., a suspect has yet to be arrested for the crime, says Lieutenant Jim England, watch commander for the department.
The intersection where Salas was hit — Golden Lantern and Marina Hills Drive — is a classic sprawling O.C. traffic stop, situated in an upper-middle-class swatch of suburbia. The Nissan was likely the only car for miles, and Salas the only pedestrian.
Salas' friends have been paying their dues to the young victim via Facebook and Twitter all day. “You will always be in our hearts, your in a better place now!!” wrote Alexis Salazar. “I can not believe you are gone :/ seems like just yesterday I saw you,” wrote Danielle Belle. “REST IN PEACE TO THE YOUNG SOUL THAT WAS TAKEN,” wrote Clavis Aranda.
A makeshift vigil for Salas has reportedly been set up on the lawn near the deadly intersection, where friends are leaving flowers and candles in his memory.
Anyone with any information about the crash or the missing driver is urged to call sheriff's investigators at (949) 425-1860. Twenty-four-hour tips can also be called into (855) TIP-OCCS.