The body of a south Orange County man in his early 20s was discovered early Friday morning on Ortega Highway, just five miles east of Interstate 5 near Antonio Parkway, according to California Highway Patrol officials.
Authorities said Friday afternoon the man had likely crashed his car early Friday morning, escaped the overturned vehicle, and proceeded to walk westbound on Ortega Highway before becoming the victim of a fatal hit-and-run collision.
CHP Officer Pete Kim said a citizen caller reported the body surrounded by vehicle debris to CHP around 4:26 a.m. Friday morning, and a SigAlert was issued at 5:45 a.m. informing drivers of an Ortega Highway closure from the entrance at Gateway Place, near the Sendero Gateway Apartment Homes, to the Orange County/Riverside county line. The stretch of road remained closed Friday morning before reopening in both directions in the afternoon.
Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said OCFA received a call about the body at 4:24 a.m. Paramedics hooked the man up to a cardiac monitor and pronounced him dead at the scene, around 4:30 a.m.
“He was already deceased,” Concialdi said. “There was nothing they could do for him.”
CHP officials said the man was traveling eastbound on Ortega Highway when he crashed his vehicle at an unknown time—possibly around 4 a.m. while it was still dark out.
Kim said it is still unknown as to why the man lost control of his car, which overturned onto the westbound shoulder after swerving across the highway. The man was the only occupant of the vehicle.
“It appears that there were no other vehicles involved in that crash,” Kim said.
The man then walked westbound on Ortega Highway for unknown reasons. Kim said there are currently no eyewitnesses and no calls were made to authorities at that point. He added that the conditions were foggy, with no street lights in that area.
The man was then struck by a vehicle traveling westbound on Ortega Highway. Kim said based on physical evidence and vehicle debris at the scene, the car was likely a 2010, 2011 or 2012 white Subaru Legacy, Impreza or Outback.
The man was from south Orange County, but Kim did not identify him or his city of residence, as next of kin had not yet been reached.
Anyone with information regarding either crash can call CHP accident investigations at 949.487.4000.