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Pedestrian hit on Mission Boulevard dies of injuries, second such death in a week

Santa Rosa resident Alejandro Torres, 24, had just parked his car along Mission Boulevard on Saturday night and was crossing the street to his nearby apartment when he was hit by a car.

Hours later, he died.

Torres' death early Sunday makes him the second pedestrian to die in Santa Rosa in less than a week after being hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk.

Their deaths bring the total of pedestrians killed in Santa Rosa to 10 since January 2011.

On Monday, people at the medical devices company where Torres worked mourned the young man they described as kind-hearted and generous, who recently brought a dish of Jell-O to a co-worker.

"He was a great guy, always had a smile on his face, and he was very motivated," said TJ Shadid, manager of the SMC Ltd. plant on Brickway Boulevard, where Torres worked in production support.

"He had that big smile on his face, that's what stood about him," Shadid said.

Also killed recently was Joseph Von Merta, 57. He died last Tuesday, a day after he was hit while crossing College Avenue at Mendocino Avenue.

Both fatal collisions remained under investigation Monday, Santa Rosa traffic Sgt. Rich Celli said.

In both collisions, the drivers told officers they never saw the pedestrians, who were both well into the crosswalks.

There were several witnesses to the Mission Boulevard crash in east Santa Rosa and some accounts differed, Celli said.

But witnesses indicated driver Sebastian Valdoz, 42, of Santa Rosa appeared to be traveling the 35-mph speed limit just before striking the man, Celli said.

It was about 7:10 p.m. Valdoz, in a Nissan Sentra sedan, was coming along the righthand curve up to Randall Lane and the crosswalk.

Torres was walking east to west and was at least one-third of the way along the crosswalk when the sedan struck him. The young man hit the windshield and was thrown over the back of the car.

Other cars were making a right turn onto Randall, and officers are trying to determine if any of those vehicles could have blocked a view of Torres, Celli said.

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