Detectives in Santa Ana are seeking the public’s help in finding a driver who they believe was involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed Jorge Lopez-Lobato. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal collision occurred the afternoon of November 29, 2015 in the 1200 block of West First Street.
Police arrived at the scene and found Lopez-Lobato in the street. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators say he was attempting to cross First Street from the south sidewalk to the north sidewalk when he was struck.
The driver sped up and fled west on First Street and then south on Bristol Street, according to witnesses who called police. Officers found the driver’s-side mirror and part of the front bumper at the scene. The car also has heavy front-end damage, police said. The suspect vehicle has been described as a 2013 to 2015 midnight blue Honda Accord with tinted windows.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members and friends of the victim, Jorge Lopez-Lobato, for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2013 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 12 fatalities and 134 injuries reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in the city of Santa Ana. In Orange County as a whole, 52 people died and 784 were injured due to pedestrian accidents during the same year.
Leaving the Scene of a Crash
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Honda struck and fatally injured the victim and then fled the scene without stopping to help or render aid to the pedestrian. Outrageous! California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a) requires all motorists to stop immediately at the scene of the collision.
Drivers are also required to exchange pertinent information with other parties involved and to render aid to the injured victims. This could be something as simple as picking up your phone and calling emergency personnel. But in this case, it appears that the driver simply took off leaving the injured victim in the roadway.
Holding Wrongdoers Accountable
We certainly hope that this driver is apprehended and brought to justice. If you have any information at all about the incident or the suspect, please visit our dedicated Hit-and-Run Reward website at hitandrunreward.com to offer an anonymous tip and to become eligible for a $1,000 reward.
Injured victims or families of deceased victims in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced Santa Ana personal injury attorney who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will also be able to advise victims and families about how their own auto insurance policy might apply to an incident where the hit-and-run driver has not been apprehended or in a case where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.