CASTRO VALLEY (CBS SF) — A suspect wanted in the fatal hit-and-run of a Castro Valley 12-year-old, who was struck in a crosswalk just blocks from her home, turned himself in at the California Highway Patrol’s Castro Valley office early Tuesday morning.
The suspect was identified as Joshua Byrne, 24, of Hayward. Accompanied by his lawyer, he turned himself in to the CHP Castro Valley office at around 8:30 a.m. and was charged with felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter. More charges are expected to be filed as well.
— Jackie Ward (@JackieKPIX) February 25, 2020
On Tuesday night, Byrne posted his $75,000 and was released, CHP Castro Valley said.
The victim was identified as Lana Carlos of Castro Valley, a student at Creekside Middle School, was walking with her older sister across Crow Canyon Road at Manter Road when she was hit shortly before 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. Her sister was also injured and was recovering at home.
CHP Officer Gabe Walters said surveillance camera images of the crash and suspect vehicle, along with the amount of information offered from community members, meant “it was just a matter of time” before investigators found the suspect.
“The security camera footage was insurmountable,” said CHP Officer Gabe Walters. “It provided us with just a substantial wealth of information and evidence that helped us with this investigation.”
Walters said the interview of Byrne was brief because he refused to answer any questions about the incident. Byrne also showed no remorse and offered no explanation for leaving the scene of the collision, said Walters.
The visibly-shaken Walters also acknowledged he was especially moved by the tragedy as his own daughter attends the same school as the young victims.
“It hits home a little harder, just because we’re in a small community. My daughter goes to school with them, members of our church … ” said Walters as he struggled to stay composed.
Raw Video: CHP Officer Gabe Walters press conference
East Bay law enforcement officers, armed with photos and video of the truck from home surveillance cameras, had launched an intense manhunt for the driver ever since the child was struck.
On their Facebook page, the CHP Castro Valley office posted that the vehicle involved in the fatal collision was a black Ford F-150 truck driven by a male, age 25-35 years old, last seen traveling south on Crow Canyon Road towards 580. Photos of the vehicle became public early Tuesday.
Lana Carlos was dragged several feet after being hit by the pickup. The driver was seen to pause for a moment before fleeing the scene, Walters said.
“We did see that Joshua, after striking Lana, stopped, looked and then took off…and left her in the road to die.”
She was immediately transported to Children’s Hospital in Oakland and died a short time later.
Walters said Crow Canyon is a major thoroughfare and a cut-through for people trying to avoid freeway traffic. Neighbors have complained about the speed of cars traveling in the area and Walters said the CHP will be stepping up enforcement of moving violations on the road.
Still one of the girls’ neighbors said the tragedy was an unexpected shock.
“As a father of two, and you expect your kid walking home from school,” said the neighbor. “And I can’t imagine that if this is my kid.”
The entire community has been shaken by Carlos’ death. Complete strangers left flowers at the scene of the tragedy on Tuesday, made all the more awful by the death of a child.
“I could feel it. If it was one of my grandkids how painful it would be…oh!” said neighbor Connie Lucas as she stared out at the intersection.
The Castro Valley Unified School District said Tuesday would be a day of mourning in the district and counselors would be available for anyone who needs them.
“The student will be in our hearts. The family in our hearts and prayers,” said Parvin Ahamdi, Castro Valley Unified School District Superintendent. “We really love all of our students and a tragedy like this just shakes you to your core.”
The CHP says they will be stepping up enforcement on Crow Canyon Road as a result of the tragedy.