STOCKTON (CBS13) — A retired Stockton Police officer who spent decades investigating hit-and-run crashes was struck and killed by a driver who left the scene on Tuesday.
Jimmy Pendergrass, 70, was doing what he’s done every day for a very long time when he was struck and killed crossing the street to get to work at the Stockton Police Department.
Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones says Pendergrass’ death is devastating.
“This was a well regarded mentor and role model for our department,” he said. “This has hit our department hard because he has been part of our Stockton Police Department for a very long time.”
The dark-colored van suspected in the hit-and-run was captured on a surveillance camera blocks away from the scene.
“We are assuming at this time that it was a vehicle accident, but the failure to stop is of additional significant concern,” Jones said.
Toni Perez has worked at a liquor store at the corner of Washington and El Dorado streets for 30 years, and says it’s not the first time something like this has happened. Her husband was also hit by a car in the same spot.
Jones says Pendergrass was with the department for more than four decades, and he spent 20 years investigating hit-and-run collisions.
“Throughout his career he has trained numerous of our officers and emergency vehicle training,” Jones said. “He was also a key traffic safety and motor vehicle collision investigator, therefore the irony in this tragic matter.”
Pendergrass was retired, but still working with the Stockton Police Department. His family ties run deep with the department, as his son also works there.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the discovery of the van, described as a late 80s, early 90s green or dark-colored Dodge Caravan-like vehicle.