Velton Johnson, a 37-year-old teacher, has been killed in a hit-and-run crash in Long Beach. According to a City News Service report, Johnson taught social studies, history and gardening at Free L.A. High School, which describes itself as an alternative to detention and incarceration for youth who face confinement, who have been suspended or expelled from schools, are returning home from detention or have simply left traditional schools because they are discouraged.
Long Beach police said they were searching for the motorist who struck Johnson and then fled the scene. Johnson was crossing at 7th Street and Ultimo Avenue when he was struck. When he was lying in the street, a second vehicle, a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by a 61-year-old Long Beach woman, struck him.
The woman stayed at the scene and tried to help. Even though paramedics came to the scene, Johnson died from his injuries. Police have no description of the first vehicle or the driver who hit Johnson and fled the scene. Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach police at 562-570-7260.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Velton Johnson for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Laws and Liability Issues
It is illegal under California law to leave the scene of an injury or 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.”
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver who initially struck Johnson did not stop and fled the scene, leaving the injured man lying in the street exposed to further danger. As we see repeatedly in many such incidents, the victim, in this case, Johnson, who was struck by the second car whose driver stopped and helped, even though it was too late. In such cases, families of hit-and-run victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Long Beach hit and run lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.