DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Dallas police may have a break in the search for the hit-and-run driver that crashed into a car with a mother and son inside. Ethan Vasquez, 13, was killed and his mother remains in critical condition.
Investigators are calling Dagoberto Castanon a “person of interest” in the wreck. Officials explained that evidence in the van abandoned at the crash scene led them to Castanon, who has a criminal history.
“We believe the vehicle had been used in property crimes in Dallas County,” Deputy Dallas Police Chief Gil Garza told reporters. And police believe Castanon knows something about those crimes and Tuesday’s fatal hit-and-run crash.
Police have two mugshots of Castanon, because of his scrapes with the law in Dallas County and a conviction in Collin County.
“He’s on probation violation for theft,” Garza said adding, “We believe this person of interest can give us vital information in resolving this case.”
CBS 11 News tried Castanon’s last known address in far North Dallas and also the residence of a relative in Richardson, but had no luck finding anyone home.
Police told CBS 11 that Castanon stands about 5’9”, weighs 175 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.
Investigators say they found burglary tools, an assault rifle, and a cell phone in the abandoned van.
Neighbors near the crash are hopeful the search for the man will lead to a break in the case.
“Yes, I feel much better now that they have some headway,” said resident Susan Sherman. She has been following developments on TV and said she has been more aware of what’s going on in and around her home. “I’ve taken a lot of extra precautions and so has my husband. When he leaves he’s sure that I’m locked in.”
Dallas local Don Abbott said with the death of young Ethan Vasquez and his mother still hospitalized, the entire incident has had a terrible impact on his fellow M Street residents. He, too, is hopeful police have good clues. “Yeah, they’re on the right track. Definitely. I hope the individual will step forward and if he wasn’t in the van he could help identify who was.”
Deputy Chief Garza says though police have canvassed the neighborhood, thoroughly, they could still use more leads. “We are asking that the public continue so assist us. We appreciate the tips and continue to look for more.”
Dashcam video from an earlier police chase has given officials a partial description of someone wearing a white t-shirt and white ball cap — but the race and gender of the individual are not discernible.
Investigators said any new information is welcome. A $15,000 reward is being offered in the case.
At last report Ethan’s mother, Sandy Vasquez, was still in critical condition at a Dallas hospital.
Donations to the Vasquez family can be made at any of the 14 branches of Citizens National Bank in either Ellis County or south Dallas County
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