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Atascadero Woman Killed in Deadly Hit and Run

59 year old Juli Conn was killed and 54 year old Steven Stapleton was critically injured after they were struck by a car while crossing West Grand Avenue at 7th Street in Grover Beach Saturday night.

The alleged driver of the car, 20 year old Zach Diaz of Arroyo Grande, fled the scene and was arrested several hours later for felony hit and run causing injury or death and felony vehicular manslaughter.

Both Juli Conn and Steven Stapleton are from Atascadero.

“She lost her life and it could have all been prevented if proper lighting was on these streets”, says Grover Beach resident Cathy Cestaro who rides her bike up and down Grand Avenue day and night.

Cestaro says she’s had her share of close calls with vehicles on Grand Avenue.

“Two and a half years ago I was in the same intersection, I was walking my bike, and my bike is very well lit up, I have all the proper lighting on it and everything”, Cestaro says, “I came within this far of getting hit by a car, I had had to throw my bike down and run the rest of the way across the crosswalk.”

Zach Diaz is a former all-league football player at Arroyo Grande High School.

Its unknown at this time if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the deadly hit and run Saturday night.

“When you run over a cat you hear the cat under your car go thud, and that’s a sound and a feeling that your never forget”, Cestaro says, “so to hit somebody or something and it was dark, understandable, but to not stop and see what it was or who it was, I don’t get it, I don’t get it.”

Diaz has apparently posted $50,000 bail and is no longer in custody at San Luis Obispo County Jail.

He’s expected to make his first court appearance on the felony charges against him early this week.

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