SAN MARCOS, Calif. - A man was struck and killed in San Marcos early Tuesday morning by a patrol car driven by a San Diego County sheriff's deputy.
The crash occurred in the 1000 block of West San Marcos Boulevard -- an area known as Restaurant Row -- at around 1:30 a.m., sheriff's officials said. The deputy turned on West San Marcos Boulevard heading westbound in order to follow a car.
Jan Caldwell, public information officer with the sheriff's department, said the man walked across West San Marcos Boulevard, went through large bushes on a median and stepped in front of the deputy's patrol car. The man was not at a crosswalk.
"The deputy thought he saw a car driving under the influence. He came around the corner and started to follow that car, and as he accelerated, someone, this man, had crossed the street and ... stepped right in front of his car … didn't hear the acceleration and stepped in front of his car," said Caldwell.
The deputy and other emergency responders tried to revive the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family and friends told 10News the man killed is 29-year-old Jose Malacara, who grew up in San Marcos and worked at Penny Lane, a restaurant nearby.
The manager of the restaurant said Malacara just finished work when he was killed. The restaurant will be closed Tuesday as co-workers mourn Malacara's death.
Over the phone, Brandie, the manager of the restaurant, cried as she called Malacara a "kind person." She said she knew him since he was in high school and said he was a "street smart kid." She thinks that if he had seen lights or heard a siren, he would not have crossed the street.
Malacara's family also told 10News they could not believe he is gone.
"Jose was a humble and good person," said his aunt, Julie Avila. "He was warm and loving. It's just a shock for us."
The deputy sustained minor injuries, Caldwell said. He was treated at the scene and taken to a substation to be interviewed.
Caldwell said the deputy is saddened by what happened and called this a "tragic accident."
Police investigating the crash shut down a segment of West San Marcos Boulevard between Via Vera Cruz and South Las Posas Road. The road was reopened by 8 a.m.