Man Arrested for Death of Crossing Guard in Hit-and-Run

(Joseph Andrew Arroya: Redlands Police Department)

The driver suspected of hitting and killing a Redlands Unified School District crossing guard in October was finally arrested Tuesday night. 

Joseph Andrew Arroya, 82, of Big Bear was booked on felony hit-and-run charges for the Oct. 16 night that killed Leonard Gilberto Ortiz, 48.

“(His family was) very, very grateful and appreciative to have the case come to resolution and to know what happened,” Redlands police Lt. Travis Martinez said.

Police said Arroya was the driver of the green Ford Ranger that hit Ortiz while he was riding a scooter. 

“Ortiz was riding his moped-type scooter east on Colton Avenue when he was struck by a vehicle that ran the red light heading south on Orange Street,” police said in a statement.

Ortiz was later pronounced dead at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Ortiz worked for a decade escorting children safely across the road before and after school for Lugonia Elementary and Clement Middle School.

Law enforcement looked at surveillance video along various streets to identify the vehicle responsible for the hit-and-run and held a press conference on Dec. 11 to ask the public for information. Ortiz’s family also spoke at the news conference, urging the person who hit and killed him to turn themselves in.

After the press conference, police received a tip and on Tuesday afternoon investigators stopped the Ford Ranger being driven by Arroya on Highway 330 in Highland. 

Arroya voluntarily went to the Redlands Police Department for a statement and was later arrested. He was transported to the West Valley Detention Center with bail set at $50,000.

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