Desert Hot Springs teen killed in hit-and-run accident

Police looking for the driver of a Nissan truck

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - Friends of 16-year-old Reuben Guzman were visibly shaken Friday, less than a day after his sudden death in a hit-and-run accident.

"I really didn't know what to think, I  still don't know what to think.  My brain is just kind of blocking everything out," said Tiahni Hellinger, a close friend of Guzman.
Police say Guzman was riding a bike with a friend on the handlebars Thursday evening when they were struck by a truck at the intersection of West Drive and West Arroyo Drive, near Tedesco Park.

"He left our house and I guess he was making his way to the bike park somewhere over there when a Nissan truck hit him.  He was drug underneath the car for about 4 feet," said Hellinger.

Fifteen-year-old Hellinger lives a stone's throw away from where a small memorial now marks where Guzman was found after the accident.  Her neighbor Bill Carnes said his daughter rushed to his side as soon as she heard the collision.

"She saw more of it than anybody," said Carnes.  "She was the first one on the scene or just about, and she saw him laying there, gasping, taking his last breath."

While the Riverside County coroner's report indicated Guzman veered into the road before the collison that cost him his life, his friends can't comprehend why the driver didn't stop to help.

"I don't understand why someone would just run off like that after hitting a kid -- just leaving him there, that's really messed up," said Hellinger.

Friends of the other boy involved in the hit-and-run said he has been released from the hospital.

Police are looking for a gray or blue Nissan truck that was last seen heading south toward Tedesco Park.

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