MERCED, CA On 01/15/16, at approximately 10:02 PM Merced Police Department officers responded to a man down in the roadway in the 800 block of W. 16th Street. When officers arrived on scene they found German Sosa 51 of Merced, lying on the ground on the side of the road and it appeared that he had been struck by a vehicle. Sosa was pronounced deceased at the scene. Officers checked the area for witnesses with no success but found video surveillance of the incident. The video clearly shows a vehicle hitting the victim and knocking him to the ground. The driver of the car turns around and pulls up to Sosa, drags him out of the road to the sidewalk and then drives off. Investigators were unable to identify the suspect from the video except that the make and model of the suspect car was clear.
Investigators followed up on a few leads and were not able to identify the suspect in this case. Near the end of February, the Merced Police Department received a Crime Stoppers tip to follow up on. That tip led officers to the area of 11th and R Street in the City of Merced. After checking the area, officers located the vehicle that had damage consistent with the hit and run accident. Officers located Mario Hernandez, the registered owner of the vehicle. After some questioning, Hernandez admitted to the fatal accident. Hernandez said that after hitting Sosa he left the scene because he was scared and had been drinking alcohol. Hernandez said that he drove straight home and a couple weeks later replaced the front windshield of his vehicle but did not try to get the body damage fixed. This case was solved with the public’s help and is an example of what can be accomplished when the citizens work with the police.
Hernandez was booked into the Merced county Jail for Vehicular Manslaughter and Felony Hit and Run. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Deliman at (209) 385-6992 or MPD dispatch at (209) 385-6905