A 41-year-old man is behind bars Monday on suspicion of killing a 23-year-old former high school football player in a hit-and-run crash in Desert Hot Springs on Saturday.
Jose Roberto Tafoya-Flores, was arrested at the intersection of Two Bunch Palms Trail and Palm Drive at approximately 1:30 p.m., about an hour after allegedly killing Isaiah Ortega-Dage, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP said Flores was found intoxicated a short distance away from the hit-and-run that occurred just after midnight on Palm Drive north of Varner Road.
According to the CHP, Ortega-Dage was riding in a vehicle with a female driver when they stopped between the right lane and right shoulder. He then got out and walked to the driver’s side of the vehicle and was struck by an oncoming pickup while standing in the right-hand lane.
Ortega-Dage, a resident of Indio, died at the scene 14 minutes after being struck by Flores’ pickup, according the Riverside County coroner’s office.
“The Knights football family has lost one of their own,” Shadow Hills football coach Alex Esquibe told the Desert Sun about Ortega-Dage. “Isaiah’s years at Shadow Hills were the years the foundation of our football program was being laid — the Knights of those days played a big part in making Shadow Hills known. Isaiah was a Knight through and through.”
“He will be missed,” Esquibe — an assistant coach when Ortega-Dage was on the team — told the paper. “We mourn with his family during these trying times and we plan to honor his legacy as our season moves forward.”
Flores is being held at the John Benoit Detention Center in Indio on $75,000 bail on suspicion of hit-and-run as well as other alleged charges such as DUI, according to jail records.
He is scheduled to make his initial court appearance as early as Wednesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.