ER nurse learns patient dying from hit-and-run was her brother

- By Christine O'Donnell

A Laguna Niguel man has been arrested for the hit-and-run death of a 23-year-old man riding a skateboard, who was struck in a San Juan Capistrano crosswalk.

Andrew Christopher Michaels, 19, was arrested at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday in connection with the death of Cesar Medina of San Juan Capistrano. said Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Loved ones of 23-year-old Cesar Andres Medina gathered Saturday at a makeshift memorial near the place he was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver. 

Orange County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jeff Hallock says the young man was skateboarding across the street in the crosswalk at Del Obispo Street and Paseo Carolina when he was struck. The driver never stopped. 

"They tried to do everything they could think of to save my brother’s life, but they couldn’t bring him back," Medina's older sister Jenifer said. 

Jenifer Medina is an ER nurse. She was working her shift at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center when doctors asked her to help identify a John Doe. That’s when she says her worst nightmare came true. 

"Ten minutes in, we got his wallet," Medina said. "He had just forgotten his wallet at my house like a week ago and I recognized the skulls on his wallet, it just happened in seconds, I just saw his face on [his ID] and I was just done," Medina said.  

After the crash, investigators obtained information that led them to suspect's residence, Hallock said. When deputies arrived, they located a Dodge Ram truck parked in the driveway, believed to be the vehicle that struck the victim.

"A short time later, Michaels contacted sheriff's deputies at the station and following an interview with investigators Michaels was arrested.''

The Dodge Ram truck was towed and will be processed for additional evidence.

Michaels was arrested for felony hit and run and booked into the Orange County Jail, where he was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail,  Hallock said.

"It appears based on witness statements and evidence collected at the scene, Medina was struck in the crosswalk as he crossed from the south to the north side of Del Obispo,'' he said. "All initial witness accounts indicate Medina was crossing on a green light (walk sign).''

Coincidentally, Andy’s girlfriend Charlotte Dunne, says Mission Hospital is where he started his day. She posted a picture on Facebook of him holding her baby niece writing, "never in a million years would I think I would be saying goodbye to you at the same place.” 

Anyone who may have witnessed the accident was asked to contact police at (714) 647-7000 or (949) 425-1860. Anonymous tips may be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or at occrimestoppers.org

The family has set up a GoFundMe Page to cover funeral expenses at https://www.gofundme.com/8y5jxdbw

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