Woman walking on Highway 99 in Fresno struck by truck, killed; driver charged with hit and run

The Fresno BeeApril 23, 2014 

California Highway Patrol investigators examine damage on a 1997 Chevrolet pickup that is believed to have been involved in a fatal hit-and-run on Highway 99 in Fresno, Calif., on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

CARMEN GEORGE — The Fresno Bee

A woman walking on southbound Highway 99 south of Herndon Avenue was struck and killed early Wednesday morning -- the victim of a hit-and-run driver, authorities said.

After she was killed about 4:50 a.m., a tipster helped lead authorities to a 1997 Chevrolet pickup truck they believe struck her, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Leonard Sherman said.

The tipster called 911 about 5:10 a.m. after seeing front-end damage and smoke coming from a truck parked at the 7-Eleven convenience store on Ashlan Avenue just off the southbound Highway 99 offramp.

Fresno police who responded to the tip saw three men washing the two-door pickup. They said body fluid was found on the truck. Sherman said there was "ample physical evidence" to detain the men for questioning. The tipster also reported "odd behavior" by the men.

The driver of the truck, Guadalupe Lucero Caloca, 51, of Madera, was arrested later Wednesday and booked into Fresno County Jail on a charge of felony hit and run. The other two people in the truck were released, the CHP said.

The 23-year-old victim has not been identified.

Sherman said he wishes more people would report suspicious activity.

"You never know what's going to be important down the road," Sherman said. "The quick response time of the Fresno Police Department, and the lack of hesitation by the witness to call the police department, was huge."

Sherman said anyone who saw the hit-and-run crash is urged to call the Fresno CHP office at (559) 441-5441 with details.

Investigators blocked two of the highway's three lanes south of Herndon Avenue while they combed the scene where the woman was hit -- backing up traffic about seven miles to just north of Avenue 11 in Madera County. All lanes reopened about 9 a.m.

It was not known why the woman was on the highway. Sherman said there was no indication it was a suicide attempt.

CHP has been "inundated" recently with calls about homeless people encroaching on Fresno highways, he said, either looking for trash to collect for recycling money or to cross the roadway.

"It's reckless and dangerous and unsafe, but they do it and we are constantly issuing them citations and arresting them," he said, "but it doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent."

The fatal crash remains under investigation.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386, cgeorge@fresnobee.com or @CarmenGeorge on Twitter.

The Fresno Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service