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Pedestrian struck by car in Santa Rosa

  • Santa Rosa Police crash scene investigators look at the window of a white Saturn that hit a pedestrian on Mendocino Avenue Thursday night. (JOHN BURGESS/THE PRESS DEMOCRAT)

A homeless man who attempted to cross a busy Santa Rosa street Thursday night was struck by a car and taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with what police said were life-threatening injuries.

The collision occurred just after 6 p.m. on Mendocino Avenue south of Russell Avenue.

Hugh Benjamin Christie, 50, had almost made it across four lanes of traffic before he was struck by a compact Saturn station wagon heading south, Santa Rosa police and witnesses said.

There were no skid marks. The posted speed limit on the road is 40 mph.

“She saw the pedestrian at the last moment,” Sgt. Rich Celli said of the driver, whose name was not released.

Six pedestrians have been struck and killed by vehicles in Santa Rosa in the past year. Four of those fatalities involved pedestrians who were intoxicated.

Celli said there were signs Christie had been consuming alcohol prior to him being struck.

Celli said that there were no signs that the driver was drinking; as a matter of routine police were planning to test the driver of the car for the presence of alcohol. He said the woman's daughter, a student at Santa Rosa Junior College, was with her at the time of the crash.

Several pieces of clothing, including a heavy jacket and a shoe, were scattered in the road as officers closed both southbound lanes on Mendocino Avenue to investigate the crash.

The Saturn's windshield on the driver's side was shattered by the force of the impact.

There is no crosswalk in the area where the crash occurred. A street lamp was out, contributing to the dark conditions on the roadway.

Paul Wellines, who described himself as a transient, said he had spoken with Christie minutes before the crash while Christie was sitting on a retaining wall along the east side of Mendocino Avenue drinking a beer.

An empty 24-ounce beer can, pint of vodka and an Almond Joy wrapper were tucked behind the wall beneath a tree.

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