Family seeks info and justice for local man after deadly Moreno Valley hit and run

MORENO VALLEY, Calif., — Authorities today are searching for information related to a suspected hit and run collision involving a pedestrian after a local man’s lifeless body was discovered in Moreno Valley early this morning, Monday, May 9. The victim’s body was found along the side of Pigeon Pass Road south of Hemlock Avenue, between Home Depot and SR-60, according to officials.

Although a Sheriff’s representative this morning told RCNS it is not known exactly when the victim was fatally struck, drag marks and other evidence discovered at the scene have led investigating deputies to believe the man’s death was possibly the result of a hit and run.


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Deputies from the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene around 12:40 a.m. after receiving the report of a possibly deceased subject laying near the roadway, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Robert Grmusha said this morning.

Grieving family members have asked for the public’s help in gathering information about a suspected hit and run that left Mario Zavala, 42, of Moreno Valley, dead; saying in a social media plea for information, “…he was hit (by) a car on pigeon pass and left to die.” Yolie Zavala photo

When deputies arrived, they located the victim along the west side of Pigeon Pass Road. The man was found to be unresponsive and had no pulse. He was subsequently declared deceased at the scene according to Grmusha, who said the victim had sustained “obvious traumatic injuries consistent with a traffic collision.”

The Riverside County Sheriff – Coroner’s Office has since identified 42-year-old Mario Zavala of Moreno Valley as the pedestrian killed in the collision. A Coroner’s release indicated that the date and time he was struck was unknown and that he was pronounced deceased by responding deputies at 12:45 a.m.

Based on the circumstances, members of the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Traffic Collision Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.


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The collision investigation required the temporary closure of Pigeon Pass Road, between Hemlock Avenue and Sunnymead Boulevard, while deputies processed the scene and collect additional evidence to the deadly hit and run.

The victim’s grieving family has since created a GoFundMe fundraiser to help pay for the victim’s funeral costs and other expenses, and are continuing to plead for the driver who hit and killed their loved one to “do the right thing” and turn themselves in to authorities.

Anyone with information about this ongoing investigation is encouraged to call Deputy Kevin Seguin of the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station at (951) 486-6879 or the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at (951) 776-1099. Callers can refer to incident file number MV221290007 and can remain anonymous.

Persons who wish to report criminal activity and want to remain anonymous can call crime stoppers at 800-78-CRIME (800-782-7463) or 800-47-DRUGS (800-473-7847). Anonymous information can also be left on the Department’s Crime Tips Online Form.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS). Both are stringer organizations, providing breaking news coverage and community interest stories for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.