DHS hit-and-run victim ID'd, police find vehicle

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - The coroner identified the man killed in a hit-and-run crash that took place Tuesday morning in Desert Hot Springs.  Twenty-eight year-old Abelardo Garcia died in the street at Palm Drive and Third street.  He died at the scene and the driver was gone when police arrived.  Friends and family set up a memorial for Garcia near the site of the crash with flowers, candles and pictures. "It always hits home when someone young passes, " said James Brown, a friend of Garcia's.  "He had family an children that cared about him." 

Friends said Garcia was a beloved husband and father.  He died after getting hit by a SUV while riding his skateboard down Palm Drive early Tuesday morning.  Friends say he was riding to work.  Officers announced a big discovery on Wednesday.  "Officers were able to locate the vehicle in our fatal traffic collision," said Commander Ken Peary from the Desert Hot Springs police department.  "The vehicle was located unoccupied in the city." 

Once again, the driver's on the run, making this even harder for family and friends.  They send this message to whoever was behind the wheel.  "Whatever the issues were, this man and his family deserves to have done what's right and own up to it," said Brown.  

Officers say the car hit Garcia while he rode down the middle of the street.  Crystal Rosenbek says his death is another result of a dangerous reality for skateboarders in the city.  "There's not a lot of room for that to happen and I've had a lot of cars come very close to hitting me even when I'm on my bike," said Rosenbek.  "it's really sad." 

Sad for Garcia's friends and family who say anyone who knew him feels like they lost their best friend.  "You can't undo it," said Brown. "This is permanent, it's life-changing, you know." 

DHSPD said they are making "great progress" in the case. 

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