FAIRFIELD — Details about the fatal hit-and-run accident on Peabody Road earlier this month are starting to surface, but many questions remain.
The investigation has been active since the Dec. 4 incident and involves three law enforcement agencies in two cities.
No case has been filed with the District Attorney’s Office, but at least one search warrant was reviewed by that office Thursday, according to Deputy District Attorney Mary Nguyen.
At the time of the accident, the California Highway Patrol released little information other than that a man was struck and killed late Dec. 4 while walking along Peabody Road. His body was found early Dec. 5. A 23-year-old was taken into custody in Vacaville later that day.
After talking to investigators and reviewing reports, the Daily Republic has learned more of what happened.
The body of 28-year-old Moses Sala sat undetected on the side of the road while Fairfield police worked what it thought was a simple vehicle accident.
For nearly nine hours, Sala’s body was in the weeds and brush along Peabody Road in the rural open space between Fairfield and Vacaville.
During that time, Fairfield police responded just before midnight to a call of a disabled vehicle and found a damaged 2012 Chevy truck. The suspected driver, Alex Perez Jr., was not at the scene, according to reports. According to a Fairfield police accident report, the OnStar operator was told by the driver he was not injured, but further communication was cut off.
Fairfield officers then contacted Vacaville police, who paid a visit to the truck’s owner, later identified as the uncle of Perez. Perez reportedly told the Vacaville officer he had hit something, but he didn’t know what it was, said CHP Officer Darren Carrington.
Officers back at the scene searched the area and found nothing in the rain and darkness. Sala’s body was thrown during impact and ended up 400 to 500 feet from where the truck came to rest, Carrington said. A press release at the time reported his body was 30 feet from the road.
Lt. Greg Hurlbut with Fairfield police said officers searched the area and the best guess was that an animal was hit, given the remote area where pedestrians are rarely seen.
“The vehicle had damage. They looked around and didn’t see another vehicle. They made some efforts, but couldn’t figure out what was hit,” Hurlbut said. “Never for a moment did they think he could have hit a person.”
At some point, a member of the family returned and the vehicle was towed to the house of Perez’s uncle, Carrington said.
Hurlbut said he didn’t want to second-guess the officers at the scene, but did question the towing of the vehicle to the home.
“I wouldn’t say that’s the recommended action,” Hurlbut said. “I would hope we would be a little more thorough in the future.”
The scene was soon cleared and Sala’s body remained.
Sala was first seen later that morning by a passing motorist who reported a body in the brush next to the road. He was pronounced dead at 8:46 a.m. and the CHP was notified shortly afterward, as they are the lead agency for areas not covered by local police.
It took investigators about two hours before they were at the house where the vehicle had been towed. Perez was arrested. CHP Sgt. Jeff Page said Perez was given a test for his blood alcohol level at the time of his arrest, but could not confirm if one was done during the initial contact with Vacaville police.
Calls Thursday to the Vacaville officer in charge on Dec. 5 were not returned.
It will take two weeks for an autopsy report, according to the Solano County Coroner’s Office. That report may shed some light on the exact cause and time of death.
Hurlbut said it was “more than likely” that Sala was killed on impact.
It was an unusual set of circumstances that put Sala on Peabody Road that night.
Earlier in the evening of Dec. 4, he was visiting family in Vacaville. On the way home to Fairfield, he was involved in a car accident on Interstate 80. With his vehicle damaged, he was given a ride to his home in a neighborhood near where he was killed.
His mother, Charmaine Killsright, said Sala soon realized he had his father’s medication. His dad is paralyzed and needed medication at certain times. With no vehicle, Sala set off on foot to deliver the meds to Vacaville, she said.
“He takes care of his dad. This is what kind of caregiver he is. We think it started drizzling and he turned around,” Killsright said. “He used to run on that road. It wasn’t like he didn’t know that road.”
Sala was a father of a 7-year-old son, with a daughter on the way to be born in March. He recently received a criminal justice degree and was weighing his options between corrections, law enforcement and possibly the military, Killsright said.
“He had so many options ahead of him,” she said. “There’s never going to be another Moses in this world. It’s hard to fathom my son is never going to come through the door and ask, ‘What’s for dinner.’ ”
Killswright said she wants to know why the driver left the scene and how he didn’t know what he hit.
“There’s no way he hit my son and didn’t know it. He knew who he hit. His report doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “Why didn’t he stay with the vehicle? Only he knows. My son can’t say anything.”
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.