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Kenwood hitchhiker killed in hit-and-run accident

CHRISTIAN KALLEN,

Update: The CHP announced on Tuesday, Dec. 5, that they had a suspect in Sunday night's hit-and-run accident that took the life of a 51-year-old man, Theodore Erikson.

On Monday evening, a Kenwood resident called the CHP to report a suspicious vehicle that had front-end damage consistent with news reports. According to the CHP update from Sgt. Jonathan Sloat, "The witness led officers to where the car, a 2001 Lincoln Continental, was parked off of SR 12. Based upon the damage to the vehicle, the statements obtained and other physical evidence collected, officers believe it was the vehicle involved in the collision. The vehicle was impounded and the owner was interviewed. At this time, investigators have identified a person of interest."

A hit-and-run driver killed a 51-year-old man early Sunday in Kenwood, according to the CHP, but the car and driver remain missing and unknown.

The victim was identified on Monday as Theodore Richard Erikson II, 51, of Acampo. Preliminary investigation indicates Erikson may have been hitchhiking. There were no witnesses to the collision and CHP has no vehicle description.

In the minutes leading up to the accident, emergency dispatchers received reports of a person walking in the eastbound lane of Highway 12, said CHP Sgt. Jason Bahlman, before receiving another report minutes later that the man had been struck by a vehicle.

Kenwood Fire was called at 12:10 a.m. about a person being struck, responded and found the man dead near the Kunde Winery, east of Warm Springs Road, Bahlman said. He carried no identification.

The vehicle involved in the hit-and-run has not been identified and investigators do not know in which direction it was traveling at the time of the incident, Bahlman said.

CHP officers found broken glass and windshield wipers at the scene, suggesting the vehicle sustained major windshield damage, CHP said. They were still looking for the vehicle or driver as of midday Monday.

“We’re still looking for anyone who might have information on that fatality,” said CHP Officer Steve Fricke. “(The vehicle) should have major windshield damage.”

CHP is asking for anyone who may have any information about the incident to call 551-4100 or 588-1400.