Raul Quintanilla, 72, was fatally injured in a Los Angeles car accident, which officials say involved a hit-and-run driver. According to a KTLA News report, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred early morning on September 20, 2011 on Santa Gertrudes Street, near Imperial Highway, in La Mirada. Officials say Quintanilla was struck by a Chevy Malibu and dismembered. The driver of the Chevy left the horrific scene without stopping or calling authorities. The car was found abandoned a couple of blocks from the scene. Geoffrey Rocha, 18, turned himself in to authorities about 12 hours after the crash. An investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Raul Quintanilla for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol's 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities but nine injuries involving pedestrian accidents in La Mirada. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 179 people died and 4,918 were injured in pedestrian accidents, during the same year.
Leaving the Scene of a Crash
Based on this news report, the young driver struck the pedestrian and then fled the scene. Also, the impact of this collision was so great that it dismembered the victim. What kind of a person would not stop and call authorities at this point? The driver's actions here were simply appalling! "I panicked" or "I was scared" are not acceptable excuses in such a situation. The driver should have stopped and called authorities. He was required to have done so, under the law.
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."
Protecting Victims' Rights
In such cases, families of deceased victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of a deceased car accident victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, loss of companionship, and other related damages.