Investigation continues into death of pedestrian hit by Merced SWAT vehicle

rparsons@mercedsunstar.comDecember 6, 2013 

— The investigation continues into the Nov. 20 death of a pedestrian who was struck by an armored Merced Police Department SWAT vehicle.

The California Highway Patrol in Merced is working with the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team out of Fresno, Officer Jason Schoonhoven said Friday.

The team frequently assists with major or high-profile fatal collisions to help conduct in-depth analysis of crash scenes.

Hubertino Vallejo, 60, of Planada died after he was struck by the SWAT vehicle about 4:50 p.m. on east R and 14th streets, the CHP reported.

It remains unclear whether Vallejo had stepped into the road or if he was struck while on the sidewalk. Merced police Officer Moses Nelson was driving the vehicle back to the police department after a day of out-of-town training. It had been a day of heavy rain, and visibility was possibly a factor in the accident.

The other officers in the vehicle have been identified as Sgt. Tony Aponte, William McComb, Ramon Ruiz, Chris Cowings, Pintabona Leone, Mark Fillebrown and Vince Sapien.

Initially, the officers were not sure the vehicle had hit Vallejo. They pulled to the side of the road and administered first aid until emergency responders arrived, the CHP said.

"We've been able to gather all of the statements and gather all of the physical evidence," Schoonhoven said. "We're piecing that all together now."

Schoonhoven said investigators are still waiting for a toxicology report on Vallejo.

A timetable for completing the investigation has not been set.

Reporter Rob Parsons can be reached at rparsons@mercedsun-star.com or (209) 385-2482.

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