A Sonora Police Department investigation determined that a man who was struck by a car and killed on Stockton Road last November was at fault for the accident because he was not in a crosswalk.
Tony Ortega, 38, of Sonora, died two days after being hit by a 2004 red Honda SUV driven by Kathleen Dunagan, 47, of Sonora, about 7 p.m. Nov. 18 on Stockton Road.
Measurements, the presence of skid marks and debris left in the roadway had exonerated Dunagan from being responsible for the accident, Acting Chief Turu VanderWiel said.
He said the “most significant detail” that led to the conclusion was the determination that “there was nothing indicating to us that the driver of vehicle was able to perceive the threat and avoid the collision in time.”
Charlene Deaver, Dunagan’s mother, said, “Our hearts and prayers go out to Tony’s family. It’s a tragedy for everybody.”
Ortega was crossing from Stockton Road to the the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. The vehicle was traveling in the eastbound lane, VanderWiel said.
Ortega had attended the King of the Mountain California Fighting Championship held at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds that night.
VanderWiel said Ortega was wearing dark, non-reflective clothing and was in the roadway.
The collision occurred near the Kwik Serve gas station. The marked crosswalk is farther west down Stockton Road in the area of Woods Creek Park.
Ortega was pronounced dead at 1:20 p.m. on Nov. 21 at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto from complications due to head trauma.
VanderWiel said much of the information was acquired from witness statements at the time of the accident and from evidence compiled at the scene.
Deaver said she hoped more lighting would be added to that stretch of road, which is heavily traveled by pedestrians during events, especially large ones when people park across Stockton in the Forest Road medical complex.
“It’s a very dark road,” she said.
Sgt. Chris Rogers with the Sonora Police Department had been in contact with the families of those involved in the accident, he added.
“We generally make contact with the other parties so they can hear it from us and kind of brace for it,” VanderWiel said.