Phillip Moreno died after allegedly being struck and carried by a car driven by Sherri Lynn Wilkins. The Torrance woman, who has a prior incident of
Phillip Moreno died after allegedly being struck and carried by a car driven by Sherri Lynn Wilkins. The Torrance woman, who has a prior incident of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident in 2010, was booked on suspicion of drunken driving and manslaughter.

A suspected drunken motorist hit a pedestrian in Torrance and drove more than two miles with the dying victim stuck in her windshield, police said Sunday. | » Motorist accused in DUI death ran sober living facility

The victim, 31-year-old Phillip Moreno of Torrance, died later at a hospital, police said.

"I can't believe he's gone," said his cousin, David Garibay. "He didn't deserve to go."

Police said the driver, Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 51, of Torrance, panicked when she struck the man at 11:25 p.m. Saturday on Torrance Boulevard near Madrid Avenue.

"He is literally embedded in her hood and into the windshield," Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt said. "She knew he was somehow embedded into her car but she panicked."

Wilkins was driving her Mitsubishi Eclipse west on Torrance Boulevard when she hit the man near the railroad crossing. She turned right on Crenshaw Boulevard and kept driving until concerned citizens swarmed her car at 182nd Street and told her to stop because a man was hanging on the hood. Someone reached in and grabbed her keys.

Moreno was able to speak to paramedics, but died after he reached a hospital. Friends said he had just left the Branch Office bar on Torrance Boulevard and was crossing the street to walk home when he was run down.

Traffic investigators did not release the results of Wilkins' breath test, but said her blood-alcohol measured at nearly twice the legal limit for driving, Watt said.

County court records show Wilkins was charged on July 16, 2010 with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, and being under the influence of a controlled substance. The case was either dismissed or not prosecuted, records show.

Wilkins, who told police officers she was coming from work, was booked at the Torrance jail on suspicion of drunken driving and manslaughter.

"This is just another tragic reminder that impaired driving is drunk driving and fatal crashes can happen if someone is driving while intoxicated," Watt said.

A woman places flower at a makeshift memorial on Torrance Blvd. where a man was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver. Larry Altman/Staff
A woman places flower at a makeshift memorial on Torrance Blvd. where a man was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver. Larry Altman/Staff Photographer

Based on Wilkins' route, she appeared to be heading toward her home on 182nd Street west of Prairie Avenue.

A man who identified himself as Wilkins' husband was walking two small dogs outside their residence Sunday morning. He refused to comment.

Family members gathered at Moreno's Del Amo Boulevard house also declined requests for an interview.

But at the Branch Office bar, a large group of Moreno's friends gathered to mourn. They stood in a circle and raised shots of tequila in a toast "To Chud." Moreno's nickname was short for "Chudweiser," a name he earned because he enjoyed Budweiser.

Friends said that Moreno's last words were "I'm Chud," when a police officer asked him his name.

Moreno, a 1999 graduate of Torrance High School, lived for his "Raiders Nation."

He would have watched Sunday's Oakland Raiders game with friends at a Torrance house.

"He never had any problems with anybody," said a friend who identified herself as Hailey M. "Everybody loved him."

Anyone who witnessed the initial accident was asked to call police at 310-618-5557.

larry.altman@dailybreeze.com

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