One pedestrian was killed and two others seriously injured in two hit and run accidents in Los Angeles, continuing a dangerous and growing trend throughout the county.
The first, injuring two elderly women at the intersection of Central and California avenues near the Glendora Galleria, took place at approximately 8:05 p.m. Thursday, when a vehicle drove through a red light and crashed into them before continuing southbound on Central Avenue. 74 year old Serpouhi Gharapetian and 69 year old Bekzad Shahbazian were rushed to LA County-USC Medical Center, where they are both listed in critical condition.
Investigators from the Glendora Police Department are now on the lookout for the vehicle, a light gray or white four-door sedan with probable front end damages, and the driver. At this time the make and model of the vehicle is unknown, as is the license plate number and description of the driver. Police are hoping to review surveillance footage from nearby buildings to gain more information. Anyone who may have seen the collision take place, or who has information about the driver is being encouraged to contact the Glendora PD as soon as possible.
According to Sergeant Tom Lorenz, the driver is facing a minimum of two counts of felony hit and run, though charges may escalate depending on the condition of the two women, who remain in the hospital.
Just one day earlier, another elderly woman, 75 year old Leleh Issakhanian, was struck and left seriously injured in Glendora, this time in the 1100 block of Western Avenue. While exiting her vehicle, which was parked on the side of the road, she was hit by a utility van that continued on without stopping.
Early Monday morning in Encino, another hit and run accident left a man dead at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Gaviota Avenue at approximately 12:15 a.m. According to police reports, an unidentified man in his late 40s wandered outside the intersection’s marked crosswalk into traffic and was struck. Skid marks on the road indicated that the Cadillac Escalade SUV that struck the man attempted to avoid the collision but was unsuccessful.
Given that the pedestrian had strayed out of the legal crossing zone, the Cadillac driver may not have been charged in the accident, says LAPD detective Bill Bustos. By running from the scene however, the driver now faces felony hit and run charges. “Had the driver stopped, and everything was in order, we would have done our investigation of this tragic, tragic incident where somebody lost his life, but then, potentially, that driver would have been allowed to leave.”
The LAPD is asking anyone with information about a black, newer-model Cadillac Escalade with tinted windows and front end damages to contact them immediately to assist with their investigation. It was last seen traveling east on Ventura Boulevard, then northbound on Haskell Avenue.
Hit and run accidents have become a common occurrence throughout Los Angeles, with more than 14,000 incidents reported in 2013, up 3% from last year. “It is truly a crisis,” says LAPD Commander Mike Williams. Last month, the department gave several recommendations to the LA City Council for improving safety and limiting hit and run accidents. Many were given approval, including supporting new state legislation increasing the penalties for anyone caught leaving the scene of an accident.
As a driver, it is essential to pay close attention to the road ahead in and around intersections and other pedestrian crossings. Never run through a red light, regardless of the time of day, and always check for those in crosswalks before making a turn. As a pedestrian, if you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, you should look to the assistance of legal representation. With the help of a Los Angeles car accident lawyer, compensation can be recovered to help cover the cost of your injuries, both physical and psychological, and get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.