Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz police: Oakland woman fled after hitting pedestrian

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - An Oakland woman was arrested on felony hit-and-run charges after she allegedly struck a pedestrian with her car and kept going, Santa Cruz police said.

Around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to reports of a hit-and-run involving a pedestrian in the 700 block of Pacific Avenue. They found that a 70-year-old Watsonville man had been struck by a passing car, which fled without stopping.

The victim was airlifted to a Bay Area trauma center where he remained in "extremely critical condition" Monday afternoon, according to Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.

Witnesses reported having seen the suspect vehicle leaving the Walgreens on Front Street. Officers were able to obtain surveillance footage that showed the suspect park the car, enter the store and then leave. They also found footage that showed the suspect driver buying alcohol at a nearby liquor store right before the crash.

Officers continued to search the area, and eventually found what they believed to be the suspect vehicle -- a white 2012 Nissan Frontier truck -- parked outside a motel just before 6 p.m.

Police found the suspect driver -- identified as 29-year-old Joanna Steele - inside a motel room. The owner of the truck -- Steele's fiance - told police he had been asleep in the room and didn't know about the collision.

His truck, which had damage to the right side, was impounded as evidence.

Steele was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of felony hit and run. Clark said she has a 2010 conviction for reckless driving.

Toxicology results are pending as the investigation continues.  Anyone with information is encouraged to contact SCPD Traffic at 420-5860

comments powered by Disqus