Man down in Vista (then up, then gone)

Leaves behind belongings and warm food

At 1:00 p.m., on December 26, one engine and a paramedic unit from the Vista Fire Deptartment responded to a report of a “man down.”

The homeless-looking man was said to be lying on the sidewalk in the 200 block of Emerald Drive at Vista Way. The rescue units from the nearby Melrose Drive fire station pulled into the corner Chevron station, only to find the man was not anywhere to be found.

The paramedics did, however, find a pile of a personal items on the sidewalk where the man was supposed to have been lying – a sleeping bag and pad, a blanket, four jackets, a pair of boots, and a bag of half-eaten, still warm food from the Chevron convenience store.

The pile of items was at a bus stop bench for a North County Transit District bus. A bus on Route # 323 was stopped with its flashers on when paramedics arrived. NCTD security confirmed that the bus company was not involved in the reporting of the incident. The bus was held up so that the fire dept. could board. They quickly determined that none of the passengers needed medical attention, nor claimed the items.

The unclaimed stuff was moved off the sidewalk, onto the lawn of a neighboring business. There was no ID in any of the items.

The emergency room of Tri-City Hospital, just two miles away, confirmed no one fitting the description of the man had been brought into the ER recently. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that no one was detained or arrested in that area around that time frame.

With paramedics having left the scene, this writer spent one hour asking neighboring businesses if they saw anything of the homeless man. The pile of stuff was still there after a one-block radius search.

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