Glendale police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who they say struck and seriously injured a 26-year-old man on an electric wheelchair, the Glendale News Press reports in this article. The man in the wheelchair was crossing New York Avenue just south of Foothill Boulevard the evening of February 13, 2009 when the driver in a white or light-colored Volkswagen, possibly a Jetta, struck him.
Soon after the impact, the man was ejected from his wheelchair and thrown onto the ground. The car then continued to push the wheelchair about 25 feet before fleeing the scene. The impact of the crash apparently broke that wheelchair to several pieces. The man was hospitalized with injuries. If you saw this Glendale hit-and-run accident or have any information about it, please call the Glendale Police Department at 818-548-4840 or Glendale Crime Stoppers at 818-507-7867.
My heart goes out to the young man in the wheelchair who it seems might have suffered critical injuries in this horrific accident. He will be in my prayers and I sincerely hope he makes a quick and complete recovery.
I trust that this hit-and-run driver is apprehended and brought to justice. The details of this incident are just appalling. It is unbelievable to me that someone would strike a wheelchair-bound person, knock them out of their chair and then continue driving as if nothing happened there! This person must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Hit-and-run is a serious criminal offense. California Vehicle Code section 20001 (a) states that a driver must remain at the scene of an accident, exchange information and/or make all attempts possible to render aid to the injured victim. Every motorist in California has this responsibility irrespective of whether the accident was his or her fault.
In this case, it is not clear whether the man was riding his motorized wheelchair in a crosswalk or across traffic lanes. If he was crossing in a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, then the motorist could be held civilly and criminally responsible for the accident and the injuries caused. The injured victim and his family in this case would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced Southern California personal injury attorney who will carefully examine the facts of the case and determine who should be held accountable.
If it turns out that the hit-and-run driver is not caught or if he or she does not have motor vehicle insurance or sufficient insurance, then the victim could be covered under the uninsured/underinsured motorist clause in his own auto insurance or any other insurance policy that he has benefits under. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on the roadway or intersection contributed to this collision. If that is a factor, then the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could be held accountable. Any claim against a governmental agency in California must be properly filed within six months of the accident.