Elisa Alvarez, 47, was killed in a hit-and-run accident after a speeding driver struck her and left the scene. According to a KABC news report, the fatal accident occurred in the 300 block of South Oak Street the night of October 18, 2013. Police say Alvarez was leaving a family birthday party when she was struck and killed by a speeding truck. She had just placed her infant cousin into a car seat when she was hit. Alvarez was thrown 30 feet. She was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. The baby was unharmed. The hit-and-run vehicle was located near Arbor Vitae and Oak streets.
The following day, 38-year-old Jesus Cazares called officials and told them he wanted to turn himself in. He was arrested and charged with hit-and-run. Witnesses including family members who saw the horrific crash said Cazares didn’t even slow down, but sped away from the scene. He was booked on a felony hit-and-run charge. He may face additional charges after the investigation is complete.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Elisa Alvarez for their tremendous loss. Loved ones describe her as a loving and caring person who was always the life of a party. Please keep her family members and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Leaving the Scene of a Crash
Under California law, it is illegal to leave the scene of an injury or a fatal crash. California Vehicle Code 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.” In this particular case, the driver, Cazares, apparently sped away from the scene without even stopping to see who he had hit or what had happened. Appalling! I’m relieved to note that he turned himself in and hope justice will be served in this case.
Holding Wrongdoers Accountable
In such cases, hit-and-run drivers, in addition to facing criminal charges, can also be held civilly liable for the damages they cause. In cases involving negligence or wrongdoing, families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship.
Victims’ families would also be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and make sure that their legal rights and best interests are provided. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, a knowledgeable accident attorney can help advise families about how their own auto insurance policies might apply to the case.