Urgent Report: Southern California Cities Suffer Alarming Rise in Hit-and-Run Car Accidents
More hit-and-run car accident attorneys have seen a tragic rise in hit-and-run car accidents, which seems most acute in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley. One such accident occurred in 2009 when USC freshman Adrianna Bachan, 18, of Santa Barbara was killed by a driver who ran a red light at a crosswalk near USC. A 19-year-old student, Marcus Garfinkle of Scottsdale, Arizona, was also seriously injured. Both students were walking back to their on-campus residences when they were struck.
A Hit-and-Run Car Accident with a Shocking Disregard for Victims
According to witnesses, after the sedan hit both students, the car stopped just long enough for a passenger to get out and remove Garfinkle from the hood. Garfinkle suffered two broken legs and other injuries. This was truly an appalling hit-and-run car accident that shocked everyone.
Police say Claudia Cabrera, 30, the suspected hit-and-run driver was taken into custody on for gross vehicular manslaughter. She is being held on $1 million bail at the Van Nuys women's jail. Police were on the lookout for her husband Joshue Luna. The couple's 7-month-old son was also in the car at the time of the accident.
Speaking in tears at a news conference after the arrest was announced, Bachan's mother admitted that while nothing would bring her daughter back, she vowed to seek justice. Garfinkle's mother, Barbara Vriegland, also pleaded for justice. According to police, tips and rewards totaling $235,000 contributed to Cabrera's location and subsequent arrest.
Half of all Car Collisions in San Fernando Valley are Hit-and-Run Accidents
The Los Angeles Police Department indicated that hit-and-run accidents are significantly higher in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley than in Burbank, Glendale and Santa Clarita. In fact, nearly 50 percent of all 16,792 San Fernando Valley traffic accidents in 2006 were hit-and-runs. Unfortunately, investigators solved just 54 percent of these cases.
Wilshire had the Most Hit And Runs--2,014
Looking at Burbank, only13 percent of car accidents there were hit-and-runs. In contrast, Santa Clarita suffered about 24 percent of these car accidents. And Glendale had even more at 29 percent. LAPD statistics revealed that the Van Nuys Division had the highest number of hit-and-runs in 2006, with 1,984. This was followed by West Valley, with 1,974. Wilshire Division had the most hit and runs--2,014.
Most Hit And Run Violators are DUIs
So what accounts for so many hit-and-run car accidents in these locales? Some say people simply panic. Others insist it's because violators may not have a valid driver's license or that they may be on probation for other offenses. Most often though, hit and runners are either drunk or high on drugs. When these drivers hit another car, the collision "wakes them up" and an adrenalin rush triggers a flight reaction. Some drugged-up drivers may not even feel pain in a car collision.
Hit-and-Run Car Accident Lawyers Say Consequences are Severe
No matter what the reason, a hit and run action violates California law. Drivers must remain at the accident scene and render or call for immediate aid, exchange identification and car insurance information--whether or not the car accident was his or her fault. California Vehicle Code section 20001 (a) states: "The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident."
Hit-and-run car accident lawyers admit that a hit-and-run offense in California constitutes a felony with severe penalties and consequences. If you are convicted, you face imprisonment in the state prison or county jail for up to one year or a fine of up to $10,000 or both imprisonment and fine. Should the car accident cause a death or permanent, serious personal injury, you can be imprisoned in state prison for up to four years, serve up to a year in a county jail, be fined up to $10,000, or suffer both imprisonment and fine. If you are convicted for leaving the scene of a car accident AND for vehicular manslaughter for causing an auto accident that results in a death, your punishment for the vehicular manslaughter is extended for five more years.
We extend out sincerest condolences to the Bachan family for the devastating and irreplaceable loss of their daughter to this tragic accident.
Call 800-561-4887 for award-winning Orange County & Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers in your area.
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