Police are searching for three men in connection with a hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles, which left 33-year-old Ronal Merdio Villatoro dead. According to a KTLA news report, surveillance footage released by the LAPD shows a green pickup truck run a red light just before the fatal collision on Feb. 24. Officials said around noon, the truck was speeding westbound along East 88th Place when it ran the red light and hit another vehicle driving northbound on South Main Street.
The impact from the collision caused the truck to then collide with the pedestrian, Villatoro, who was crossing northbound along Main Street and walking in a marked crosswalk. Family members said he was walking to a mechanic’s shop to pick up his truck at the time. The three men inside the pickup truck fled the scene leaving the victim to die from his injuries, police said.
LAPD has also released the photos of the three men identified as the suspects. The family is working to get Villatoro’s remains back to their home country of Guatemala. The authorities are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects. Anyone with information is urged to contact LAPD detectives at 323-421-2500.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Ronal Merdio Villatoro for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the pickup truck that triggered the collision fled the scene of the crash leaving the injured victim to die from his injuries. Leaving the scene of an injury or fatal crash is illegal under California law.
According to California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a), it is illegal to leave the scene of a crash without exchanging information with other parties involved, cooperating with authorities and more importantly, rendering aid to the victim. Such “aid” may be something as simple as calling 911 and making sure the victim gets prompt, potentially life-saving medical assistance.
Families of deceased hit and run victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles hit and run lawyer who will remain on top of the official investigation and help ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also be able to advise families about how their own auto insurance policy might apply to a hit-and-run crash or to a case where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.