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Santa Rosa man arrested in fatal hit-run

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 11:39 p.m.

A Santa Rosa real estate broker was arrested at his lawyer's office Friday in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed a Pacifica man earlier in the week, authorities said.

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Steven Heath.

www.stevenheath.com

Santa Rosa Police were contacted Friday by Steven Heath's attorney, Steve Gallenson, who said his 60-year-old client wanted to speak with authorities about Wednesday's crash.

George Michael Black, 64, of Pacifica, was struck and killed on Montgomery Drive near Spring Lake by a driver who sped away. Witnesses said the car appeared to be a light-colored Mercedes Benz.

Sgt. Rich Celli said Heath on Friday “identified himself as the driver of the vehicle at the time of the collision.”

Heath provided no other statements to police, Celli said.

Heath was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and booked into Sonoma County Jail, where he posted bail and was released Friday.

Investigators were working diligently to try to track down the driver of the Mercedes in the aftermath of Wednesday's crash.

Celli said one witness reported that he had to take evasive action after a Mercedes swerved into his lane on Montgomery Drive not far from where Black was struck. The Mercedes was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Black had parked his car on a wide shoulder of Montgomery Drive near the North Dam of Spring Lake but he was on a narrower stretch of road to the west, where there is almost no shoulder.

Celli said Heath's attorney provided police with Heath's Pepperwood Road address and told officers they would find the car they were looking for there. The home is about a mile from the crash site.

A white 2011 Mercedes Benz S550 was parked in the garage, Celli said. He said the vehicle had damage on the right front side.

The car was impounded for evidence.

Celli said investigators are awaiting the results of Black's autopsy to try to provide a clearer picture of how he was struck.

Black's sister-in-law, Lee Wilkins Black, of Columbia, Mo., said the former professor had driven to Santa Rosa with a friend to attend some kind of nontraditional healing session. They were supposed to meet for lunch before heading back to the Bay Area.

Raised in Portland, Ore., George Black had a doctorate in political science from the University of Oregon and taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., the New Jersey Institute of Technology and at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont.

His survivors include a 16-year-old son.

(You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek.)

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