Turlock Police investigators believe they have identified the man behind the wheel in a fatal hit and run crash that claimed the life of an 18-year-old Delhi woman.
The suspect has been identified as Jose Jesus Aguilar, 19, of Delhi. Aguilar’s whereabouts are unknown at this time and investigators are seeking the public’s assistance in locating him.
Taylor Vessel, a graduate of the Stanislaus Military Academy and student at Merced College, was killed Nov. 3 after the Chevy Malibu she was riding in struck a tree and then a house.
The Malibu was first spotted by a Turlock Police officer parked with another car near a strip mall at Marshall Street and Golden State Boulevard at 3:25 a.m. Nov. 3.
The officer shined a spotlight on the two cars and the Malibu sped off, said Turlock Police Sgt. Stephen Webb.
The Malibu accelerated to a high rate of speed on Golden State and then turned onto F Street.
The officer followed after the vehicle, but lost sight of it briefly. It wasn’t but a few minutes later a caller reported a vehicle had struck a tree and then crashed into a house in the 1200 block of Lander Avenue.
Witnesses to the crash told the police that the male driver fled from the scene.
Vessel was partially ejected during the collision. Residents and emergency personnel tried to revive her, but she died within minutes of the crash, Webb said.
Early into the investigation the Turlock Police Department released surveillance video from a convenience store on Golden State Boulevard that included an image of a woman, later identified as the owner of the Malibu and an unidentified man deemed a person of interest in the case. It’s suspected the man is Aguilar.
Aguilar is described as a Hispanic male, 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 180 pounds. He has long black hair, usually braided in a pony-tail. He has four dots tattooed under his left eye and one dot under his right eye.
The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone knowing Aguilar’s whereabouts to call the department at 668-1200. Do not approach or attempt to apprehend Aguilar.
Anyone with any further information about the case is asked to call Officer Joe Dusel at 664-7380.
The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.