Man arrested in Los Banos hit-and-run

cpride@mercedsunstar.comMarch 20, 2013 

— A 23-year-old Los Banos man has been arrested in connection with the death of an Army reservist in a hit-and-run crash that happened during the weekend, police reported Wednesday.

Jesse Ryan Fuentes was arrested at his home Wednesday on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license.

Fernando Buenrostro Jr., 18, was killed when he was hit by a pickup truck while riding a motorized scooter near Cardinal Street and Fairmont Drive at 7:41 p.m. Saturday.

Witnesses told police the truck that hit Buenrostro was a white Chevrolet or Ford.

On Wednesday police spotted a white 2001 Ford F-150 driving in the area of Mercey Springs Road and Santa Cruz Way. The truck had damage on the left of its hood and grille.

Police stopped the driver, who identified his son as the person in possession of the truck on the evening of the fatal crash.

Detectives then went to the suspect's residence in the 1400 block of Mission Drive and arrested him. Fuentes is in custody at the Los Banos Police Department Jail.

The victim's family members were encouraged by news of the suspect's arrest Wednesday. "I'm glad we don't have that uncertainty anymore, we're not trying to guess," said Lionel Buenrostro, the victim's uncle.

"If he wants to get a jury or whatever, it's going to be up to them. We're not pushing for anything harsh. Basically, like my brother said on the TV, 'Do the right thing, turn yourself in and let justice do the rest.' "

Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. said that when authorities arrived at the scene of the crash Saturday they found Buenrostro lying on the ground with major head injuries.

Buenrostro was flown to Doctor's Medical Center in Modesto. He died the next morning.

Fernando Buenrostro Sr., the victim's father, said earlier this week that his son had only recently moved away from home.

Fernando Buenrostro Jr. graduated from Los Banos High School last year and entered the National Guard. His uncle is a veteran, and Buenrostro wanted to follow in his footsteps, according to the victim's father. He described his son as a quiet and shy person.

Funeral services for Fernando Buenrostro Jr. will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday at Whitehurst Funeral Chapel, 1840 Center Ave.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Los Banos Police Department at (209) 827-7070.

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