A 30-year-old model was killed in a hit-and-run crash Saturday when he got out of his car after running out of gas and was walking along Highway 101 in Buellton, about 35 miles northwest of Santa Barbara.
• Vogue model Eric Zentner was headed up to the Sacramento area to visit his mother when he ran out of gas on Highway 101 north of Santa Barbara in the dark early-morning hours.
• Zentner got out of his car and walked along the highway, hoping to find assistance. He was hit by a car and killed.
• The driver who hit him fled the scene.
Versace model Eric Zentner, who was often featured in Vogue and appeared in pop star Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold”video, was driving north on Highway 101 to see his mother in Gold River, California (east of Sacramento), when he ran out of gas.
“He exited the vehicle and began walking,” California Highway Patrol officer Cliff Powers told Fox News. “We believe at some point he crossed the road east.” Police did not say why he didn’t use a cellphone to call for help.
A light blue mid-1990s Dodge Caravan hit Zentner as he was walking in the dark to a farmhouse to seek help. Zentner died at the scene. The driver fled the scene. CHP investigators collected evidence at the scene that included headlight lenses with part numbers, light blue paint and a windshield wiper, according to an E! News report. The CHP is continuing to look for any tips that might lead to the hit-and-run driver.
“It’s an ongoing investigation,” Powers said. “We don’t know what happened. So far, no one has come forward.”
The model’s cousin, Zach Zentner, said he has thought a lot about that.
“I just wonder what [the hit-and-run driver's] situation is,” he said. “I hope they can bring it to themselves to come forward and admit to themselves that they need to do something about this, and say, ‘This is what happened.’ ”
Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP. The toll-free statewide number is 1-800-835-5247. The Buellton office number is 805-688-5551.
Far too many people — including police officers — are killed when they get out of their vehicles on highways or interstate freeways following a breakdown or accident. Following are some tips from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to keep you safe when your car is disabled.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR VEHICLE IS DISABLED ON A HIGHWAY OR FREEWAY
1. Pull to the right shoulder and stop. Get as far away from traffic as possible.
2. Put your hood up and turn on your emergency flashers. When it is safe to briefly exit your car, get out on the RIGHT side (away from traffic) and put the hood up to indicate you are having trouble. Then get back in the car, from the RIGHT side, again.
3. Call for help. Call AAA or another emergency road service immediately if you are a member. If you’re not a member, call the California Highway Patrol’s Freeway Service Patrol at 1-800-TELLCHP (835-5247). They offer free assistance within the following areas: Sacramento, Tracy, San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Fresno, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and Orange County.
4. Stay in the car with your seat belt fastened. Even if you don’t have a phone with you, someone who is passing by will see your blinkers on and your hood up and will call the CHP.
The trial attorneys at Blackman Legal Group, a California-based law firm founded by renowned trial attorney Clifford Blackman, have been representing hit-and-run accident victims and their families for 35 years. The nationwide toll-free number to call for a free consultation is 1-866-692-8126.