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Jogger killed by hit-and-run driver

  • Emergency crews investigate the hit-and-run death of a jogger along River Road in west Sonoma County Sunday night. (KENT PORTER/THE PRESS DEMOCRAT)

A man apparently out for a run was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver along a narrow stretch of River Road Sunday evening, across from Odd Fellows Park in west Sonoma County.

The victim is a middle aged man, but his identity was not immediately known as CHP investigators remained on the scene under emergency vehicle floodlights following the 7 p.m. crash.

Witnesses on the scene indicated the vehicle that hit the jogger was a white Ford extended cab pickup. A distinctive skid mark in the eastbound lane of River Road comes to a stop at a running shoe and sock in the road, with the body of the victim coming to rest 10 to 15 yards farther down the lane.

A CHP crash investigation team was on the scene to try and further identify a vehicle, while others seek the identity of the man and notify family members.

“They'll be looking for evidence of the vehicle, such as parts, things like that,” said Sgt. Mike Brown of the CHP.

No car parts were immediately visible, but investigators would seek paint chips or other trace evidence.

Michelle White and her husband James White, from Santa Rosa, said they passed a jogger Sunday evening when they were driving back from Odd Fellows Park along River Road and returning to River Bend resort, an RV park east of where the man was hit.

They said the person they saw was a man that appeared to be in his 50s, bald and very fit. “He looked athletic,” James White said.

They noted that he was focused on the ground as he jogged along the eastbound side of the road on the shoulder, but heading west.

They returned to the RV park and sometime later they heard the sirens from emergency vehicles, they said.

One lane of the two-lane road was closed near the Russian River Pub while the investigation continued. This part of River Road has a five-foot shoulder on each side, with a steep hill extending from the roadway on the north side. The south side is bordered by a seven-foot embankment.

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