Police in California have arrested the man believed to be responsible for a fatal hit and run Tuesday on U.S. Highway 97 in Madras.
Madras Police used surveillance camera footage from a nearby business to track down Jose Manuel Bernal-Mendoza, 47, who was charged in Jefferson County Circuit Court with second-degree manslaughter, negligent homicide, hit and run and reckless driving for allegedly causing the death of Anthony Shadley, 59, of Madras.
At around 7:01 p.m. Tuesday, Shadley was walking to the Madras Gospel Mission warming shelter on the west side of Highway 97 just south of NW Cypress Lane when police say he was struck by a tractor trailer driven by Bernal-Mendoza.
Police found several plastic components from the rig and seized them as evidence, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court. The broken plastic pieces displayed the vehicle’s brand, “Volvo,” and serial numbers that Madras Police used to identify the vehicle model, a VNL-series semitruck.
Madras officers canvassed local businesses for possible surveillance footage of the crash. They found a business on Cedar Street with cameras directed toward the highway — the Wild Winds Station restaurant.
The business turned over footage that police say showed a southbound Volvo VNL tractor trailer pull over and, after a brief break, continue on Highway 97.
The Oregon Department of Transportation reported to police that only two southbound Volvo semitrucks passed through its Juniper Butte weigh station 13 miles south of Madras after the fatal collision. One was hauling a flatbed trailer and the other was hauling a box trailer.
The truck hauling the box trailer passed through the scales at 7:11 p.m.
ODOT provided Madras Police a photo still from the footage showing a vehicle that appears to match the one shown in the Wild Winds surveillance footage.
Detectives next contacted the truck’s listed parent company, 5D Cargo Express, and spoke with a safety supervisor who said the truck was being operated by a two-person team of Bernal-Mendoza and Juan Vacca-Serrano, 37. The safety supervisor gave police the time and location of the team’s next scheduled stop, in Azusa, California.
Bernal-Mendoza was arrested by Azusa Police officers while making his scheduled delivery, according to a statement by Madras Police.
Bernal-Mendoza told his safety supervisor he had swerved to avoid a “dark shadowy figure” but did not believe he hit anything, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Calls to Madras Police were not returned Wednesday.
The hit and run is about a block south of a crash that injured a 55-year-old Madras man Monday night, police said.
Madras Police said the man was dressed in dark clothing and walking with two other men to the Madras warming shelter when he ran across the road in front of oncoming cars. He was struck by a white 1997 Buick on U.S. Highway 97 near Chestnut Street.