"There was debris everywhere, a shopping cart in the roadway, a number of different items in the road there with the subject," said Police Chief Mike O'Brien.
Just after 2 a.m. On Thursday morning a driver saw something lying in the road west of the Esplanade ... On closer look, the witness's fears were confirmed. It was a man, laying lifelessly on East Avenue.
"Officers and medical personnel arrived and confirmed the subject was deceased," said O'Brien.
It didn't take long for police to figure out what happened.
"It appeared the 63-year-old male from Chico was a victim of a hit and run collision," said O'Brien.
The department's major accident investigation team took the lead.
So far, they believe that the driver was in a light colored SUV, possibly a 2000-2005 model Ford Explorer.
"They are reviewing whether video exists of the incident, and the quality of it, and we're now encouraging the person responsible to come forward and speak with our investigators," said O'Brien.
"The man was found in the westbound lane but police believe he was crossing the intersection when he was struck.
"Remember you can have a collision in a cross walk and have that person moved several feet," said O'Brien.
Police shut down the section of East Avenue until about 9 this morning, delaying traffic.
"there's a lot to do to process that scene, to make sure the investigation is completely thoroughly, measurements, collection of evidence at the scene," explained O'Brien.
So while investigators search for the perpetrator, police are also in the process of notifying the victim's family of his tragic death.
"We believe we know who he is, through multiple past contacts, in fact I know who this subject is, but we're not releasing that until we've made contact," said O'Brien.
Police are hoping that the person responsible will come forward and speak with them. They're also asking anyone with information to contact the Chico Police Department.