Taxi driver killed in hit-and-run described as a family man

Anteneh Minassie had big role in his church

SAN DIEGO - A hit-and-run driver struck and killed a taxi driver who was standing on Interstate 5 outside his wrecked cab just after it was hit by a wrong-way rental car early Saturday near Old Town.

The cab was hit by a northbound car shortly before 2:30 a.m. on the southbound freeway, between Old Town Avenue and Washington Street, according to the California Highway Patrol. The other car was driven by a 42-year-old woman from Phoenix, who drove off but was later arrested.

As the cab driver was standing outside of the wrecked cab, he was struck by a car, whose driver also did not stop at the crash site, CHP officials said. A third vehicle, a Honda Accord, then plowed into the cab, a local television station reported.

The wrong-way driver was arrested on suspicion of several felony DUI-related charges. The driver who fatally struck the cab driver remained at large, according to the CHP.

Family members identified the cab driver to 10News as 42-year-old Anteneh Minassie. Grieving family and friends gathered outside the home where Minassie lived. He was described as a family man who had a big role in his church.

His brother Seyoum Minassie is shocked and devastated.

"This is a man of God who loved God, loved his children, loved his family … tragedy to me, tragedy to my brother," he said.

Minassie was an active member at Maranatha Ethiopia Church. He taught youth ministry and was a family guy who loved soccer and would take his three kids to Balboa Park every Wednesday to play.

"He loved to have fun," said Seyoum Minassie. "He went into the Starbucks, hung out with his people, never said anything bad about other people … He was always full of life."

His death saddened not only family and friends but his boss and coworkers as well.

"When I heard this morning, I said, 'I can't even believe this happened to a nice guy,'" said a coworker.

Minassie moved to the United States from Ethiopia 10 years ago to be with his wife who works as a nurse. His family is still planning services.

The CHP has not released a description on the second vehicle that left the scene but asked anyone with information on the fatal crash to call (858) 637-3800.

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