Police Seek Public's Help to Locate Orange County Hit and Run Driver

April 19, 2013

Shawn Keith, 34, was killed in a hit-and-run crash after a vehicle struck him as he was walking across the street. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal pedestrian collision occurred the night of April 17, 2013 in the 14100 block of Springdale Street in Westminster. Police say Keith, who was not in a crosswalk at the time, was walking eastbound across Springdale when a black pickup truck traveling southbound struck him. The driver fled on foot.

Keith was thrown into the northbound lanes by the impact. He died shortly afterward at an area trauma center. Police have identified the Orange County hit-and-run driver as 45-year-old Derek Wright. They say he ran into a nearby residential area and remains at large. He is described as a white male about 6-foot-2 weighing 170 pounds. Anyone who has information about him is asked to contact police at 714-898-3315.

Crash Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) statistics, one out of every 10 crashes (about 11 percent) reported to the police involve a hit-and-run driver. In the city of Westminster, four people were killed and 28 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents during 2010, according to California Highway Patrol's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Orange County as a whole, 32 fatalities and 770 injuries were reported due to pedestrian crashes during the same year.

Hit-and-Run Law

Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the pickup truck, Wright, left the severely injured Keith lying on the roadway without even stopping to help. Appalling! Leaving the scene of an injury crash is not only an inhumane and irresponsible act, but it is also illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a). The law requires motorists to stop immediately, remain at the scene until officials arrive, exchange information with all parties concerned and most importantly, render aid to the victim. This is the motorist's responsibility under the law, regardless of who may have been at fault.

Holding Wrongdoers Accountable

I certainly hope officials are able to apprehend the suspects and bring them to justice. If you have any information about this accident, please visit our web site at www.hitandrunreward.com. Our site allows witnesses to provide an anonymous tip and also become eligible to receive a $1,000 reward. This is our way of partnering with the community and police to play a part in helping bring justice to hit-and-run victims and their families.

Families of deceased victims in such cases would be well advised to contact a reputed Orange County personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held responsible. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also be able to inform families about how their car insurance policy applies to a hit-and-run crash or in a case where the at-fault motorist is uninsured or underinsured.