Friends mourn hit-and-run victim Jacob Greenwald

Jacob Greenwald killed walking home from work

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. - Friends have identified a 20-year-old man who was struck and killed in Spring Valley while walking on the sidewalk on his way home from work.

The Medical Examiner's Office officially released the victim's identity Monday.

Friends confirmed to 10News that the victim is Jacob Greenwald, a recent graduate of Grossmont High School.

"He was really sweet and kind," said friend Karen McCluan. "He did anything if you asked him. He was a sweet guy ...  I just recently got in contact with him over a month ago again and he was telling me he … was working to save for school."

10News learned Greenwald worked at the McDonalds near state Route 94 and Avocado Boulevard.

Friends are organizing a vigil for Greenwald, which is scheduled for Monday night.

Jason Michael Palmer, 33, of Spring Valley, has been arrested in connection with the fatal hit-and-run. 10News learned Palmer has an extensive criminal record.

The incident occurred at about 3:45 a.m. According to the California Highway Patrol, a 20-year-old man was walking on the sidewalk alongside Campo Road near Cordoba Avenue. Officers say the man was on his way home from work.

CHP officers say Palmer was behind the wheel of a Toyota 4Runner SUV, heading westbound on Campo Road. Officers say Palmer allowed his vehicle to drive up on the sidewalk, hitting the young man. He died at the scene.

A witness who heard the crash told 10News, "There was a lot of debris. They hit him pretty hard. I couldn't believe that they would just keep on going. They had to have known that they hit him because that's all that was out there ... was a human being."

After the crash, the SUV sped away. The SUV's front license plate was found at the scene. Investigators traced the suspect vehicle's license plate to one of Palmer's relatives. Officers responded to the address and contacted Palmer's relative. Officers were able to call Palmer's cellphone but he hung up on them.

At about 9:30 a.m., the SUV was located in the area near Interstate 805 and Aero Drive in Serra Mesa. While officers processed the vehicle, Palmer was identified as a passenger in a slow-moving vehicle that passed the scene, according to the CHP.

Officers were able to ping Palmer's cellphone, and he was taken into custody without further incident. The keys to the SUV were located in Palmer's pocket, according to the CHP.

Palmer was booked into county jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony manslaughter. Officers say the crash is under investigation and that it appears alcohol or drugs may be a factor.

Additional charges could be added at the conclusion of the investigation, according to the CHP. Nearby businesses were being checked for relevant surveillance footage.

Campo Road was closed between North Granada and North Cordoba avenues following the crash, but was reopened by late afternoon, according to the county Department of Public Works.

10News learned that friends of Greenwald are planning vigils. One is scheduled for Monday at Campo Road and South Barcelona.

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