May 29, 2012 9:32 PM by Ariel Wesler, KSBY News

Person of Interest denies involvement in fatal hit and run

The CHP is still trying to get answers as they investigate the deadly hit-and-run that happened this month in Nipomo, but the first person they've named in the case says investigators are looking in the wrong direction.

The person of interest in the Nipomo hit and run case says he has nothing to do with it. CHP investigators named a person of interest in the case on Friday.

Officers identified the person of interest as Ramiro Chavez Junior. They believe the 27-year-old Santa Maria man has information about the hit and run on Mother's Day that killed a homeless man from Modesto.

Witnesses described the vehicle as a blue Chevy Corvette and a day later, officers found a Corvette burning in rural Santa Maria.

Chavez says he doesn't know anything about the case. After his picture was released to the news media on Friday, he stormed over here to the Santa Maria CHP Office to clear his name.

Chavez feels the CHP is ruining his image and hurting his business. Investigators say they released his name and photo after they were unable to contact him, but they emphasize they just want to talk with him.

"We want to see what he knows about the case and what he can help us with and so, he's not a suspect in any way at all. He's just someone we want to talk to concerning the matter," said Sgt. John Ploetz with the Santa Maria CHP.

While the CHP isn't backing down, Chavez insists he has not heard from investigators until now and denies any connection to the crime.

The 27-year-old is one of at least two persons of interest in the fatal hit-and-run case. So far, the CHP has not named the second person of interest.

Chavez is adamant about telling his side of the story\, but would not speak to KSBY News on camera until he first talks with his lawyer.

The CHP pulled the VIN from the burned-out vehicle, but has not yet linked it to or identified the driver in the crash.


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