Tip leads to man’s arrest in fatal hit-and-run of jogger along Loop 1604 on NW Side

Suspect was confronted by police outside a gym

The driver accused of fatally striking a runner along Loop 1604 earlier this month claimed that he thought he hit a deer when questioned by San Antonio police, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

SAN ANTONIO – The driver accused of fatally striking a runner along Loop 1604 earlier this month claimed that he thought he hit a deer when questioned by San Antonio police, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Records with the Bexar County Jail show Joel Angel Zaragoza, 28, was arrested Tuesday night on a charge of failure to stop and render aid resulting in death, a second-degree felony. His bond is set at $50,000.

The hit-and-run that killed well-known runner Lisa Rosenstein occurred around 7 a.m. May 2 on the North Loop 1604 West eastbound access road between Lockhill Selma Road and NW Military Highway.

Her body was found in a grass shoulder by a bicyclist who was riding on the access road. The bicyclist called the police and suspected the woman had died, as she had no pulse, the affidavit states.

Police said parts of the suspect vehicle’s headlamp were located at the scene, leading officers to believe it was a 2012-2014 Ford Focus.

Surveillance footage also captured the vehicle drive away from the crash site and travel along the access road until it reached Blanco Road.

The affidavit states that SAPD received a tip on May 18 “from a concerned citizen about a possible suspect vehicle.”

SAPD found the vehicle, which had a repaired headlight and passenger’s side mirror, as well as damage to the right fender and hood, at an apartment complex in the 600 block of E. Sonterra Boulevard in Stone Oak.

Police eventually made contact with the vehicle’s owner, later identified as Zaragoza, outside a Lifetime Fitness gym.

He told police that the damage was from hitting a deer, but he did not know when or where he hit it, investigators said.

“I asked the defendant if he could definitively say he hit a deer and he said no,” the affidavit states. He also told officers that he had a blowout and swerved to the right, striking the deer, and his front windshield was “fogged up.”

Police initially said the car had drifted onto the shoulder lane.

Rosenstein did not have an ID on her but her husband pinged her cell phone and went to the site of the crash.

Her friends told KSAT that the 27-time marathoner was “tough as nails” but “had a heart of gold.”

Since Zaragoza’s arrest, Rosenstein’s family has released the following statement:

“The Rosenstein and Starr families appreciate the diligent efforts of the San Antonio and Shavano Park Police Departments that resulted in the arrest of a suspect in Lisa’s death.”

WATCH: ‘The brightest light just went out’: Friends, runners remember jogger killed in hit-and-run

San Antonio Crime Stoppers are now offering a $5,000 reward for information related to the hit-and-run suspect.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.