The victim of the fatal hit and run accident in Cornville on the evening of January 23rd has been identified as Fernando Diaz, 49 from New York, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Diaz was pronounced dead on the scene after a vehicle hit him near Cornville and Mountain View Roads. The accident is still under investigation by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO).
Witnesses at the scene said that Mr. Diaz had been seen near the road where he was hit prior to the accident, in what was thought to be an argument with someone on the phone. YCSO investigators interviewed the victim’s fiancée, who was also a witness to the accident. She told detectives she drove to meet with the victim who was near the Dollar Store on Cornville Rd. When she located him, she stopped, and the victim walked to speak with her in the middle of the road. After asking the victim to get in her car, she pulled off the road onto a side street, which is when the yellow mustang hit the victim who was still in the roadway. The mustang then fled the scene.
With the help of one witness to the accident, who followed the vehicle after it fled so she could get a license plate number, YCSO deputies were able to find the driver and the vehicle near Sedona. Approximately 20 minutes after the accident, the suspect Gabriel Kirchner was located and arrested on HWY 179 near Jacks Canyon Rd after a traffic stop on an unrelated matter.
Kirchner is being detained pending YCSO investigation of the circumstances that led to the accident.
Mr. Diaz’s family has set up a GoFund Me page to help pay to bring him back to New York from Arizona so he can be buried with his family. Anyone wanting to donate can visit: Fundraiser by Kayla Rampersaud: Funeral for Fernando “Nandito” Diaz. (gofundme.com)*