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Man Dead After Indio Hit-and-Run Vehicle Vs. Pedestrian

Man Dead After Indio Hit-and-Run Vehicle Vs. Pedestrian

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DESERT HOT SPRINGS – A man was hit by a vehicle and left for dead on the evening of Saturday, July 2, 2016, CHP officials said. The collision occurred at around 7:30 p.m. in the unincorporated area of Desert Hot Springs on North Indian Canyon Drive near Dillon Road.

A 63-year-old Desert Hot Springs man identified as Richard Helton was walking along the east side of North Indian Canyon. For reasons still under investigation a 2014 Nissan Sentra driving northbound on North Indian Canyon Drive struck the man and fled the scene.

The collision was reported by a third party the following morning at approximately 7:20 a.m. When emergency personnel responded to the scene they located the Helton and pronounced him dead at the scene.

They later located the Helton’s 1988 Chevrolet 3500 pickup with a camper on North Indian Canyon Drive south of the collision.

After investigating, including witness contact Michael Bettasso from Yucca Valley was identified as the suspect. The vehicle was located at Bettasso’s home and he was subsequently arrested for the hit-and-run at around 8:40 p.m.

The California Highway Patrol Indio Station is still investigating the case and have not ruled out alcohol and/or drugs as a factor in the collision. Anyone with information about this collision should contact the Indio CHP Office at 760)772-8911 and ask for Officer Johnson.

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