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January 10, 2014

Police investigate fatal hit-and-run in Turlock

Investigators on Friday were looking for the driver of a vehicle that hit two people, killing one of them, as they were walking near the Stanislaus County fairgrounds late Thursday.

Investigators on Friday were looking for the driver of a car that hit two people, killing one of them, as they walked near the Stanislaus County Fairground late Thursday.

A 46-year-old woman died at the scene, and her 53-year-old boyfriend suffered serious injuries but was expected to survive, said officer Mayra Lewis, a Turlock police spokeswoman.

Stanislaus County coroner officials said Elizabeth Mancha of Turlock was the woman struck by the vehicle Thursday night. Police did not release the man’s name.

The hit-and-run occurred shortly before 10:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Joett Drive, just south of Fulkerth Road in Turlock. Lewis said the woman and her boyfriend appeared to have been out for a leisurely walk around Summerfaire Park.

A Ford Mustang was on Joett heading toward Fulkerth near Tramway Place when it struck the pedestrians near the curb, Lewis said.

Officers and firefighters arrived at the scene and found the injured couple. Lewis said the vehicle’s driver ran from the area, leaving the Mustang behind, before police arrived.

The Turlock Police Department’s major accident investigation team has since identified Rene Salas, 49, of Turlock, as a person of interest in the investigation. Investigators have reason to believe Salas may have been driving the Mustang, but that has not been confirmed and he had not been identified as a suspect.

Investigators on Friday afternoon were still looking for Salas to question him about the hit-and-run.

Police officials ask anyone who witnessed the incident or has information about Salas’ whereabouts to call Michael Stapler of the major accident investigation team at (209) 668-5550, ext. 6683. Tipsters also can call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters can email through the Crime Stoppers website,, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing “Tip704” plus a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

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