A pedestrian was struck and killed by a speeding motorcyclist who was trying to evade law enforcement officials in downtown Los Angeles. According to a KTLA news report, California Highway Patrol officers tried to stop the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250 motorcycle for running a red light in an unincorporated area of Whittier the night of May 30. The motorcyclist, later identified as 27-year-old Brian Jesse Leon of East Los Angeles, refused to stop and led authorities on a pursuit that spanned the 605, 5 and 101 freeways at speeds over 100 mph.
Major Injuries and Death
Leon exited the freeway on Alameda Street and continued speeding at 50 to 60 mph. After failing to stop for more red traffic lights, Leon struck a male pedestrian who was crossing Arcadia Street at Main Street within a marked crosswalk. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.
Leon suffered major injuries and was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. He has been arrested on suspicion of murder and evading a peace officer resulting in death. More charges are likely pending further investigation. It is not clear if alcohol or drugs were involved. Anyone with information is asked to call the CHP at 562-868-0503.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members of this deceased pedestrian for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to the California Highway Patrol, dozens of people die in crashes that occur as a result of thousands of police chases in California each year. CHP officials say that in the year 2012 alone, 6,444 police pursuits were reported, resulting in the deaths of 33 people. In more than half of those pursuits, the victims who died were either drivers or passengers. Twelve of the victims were bystanders who had no involvement in the pursuit.
Most law enforcement agencies are immune from liability in police chases because they have a written policy regarding police pursuits. They do not even have to prove that their officers have read or received training regarding their pursuit policy. There is no question that police officers have a job to do, which is to protect the public.
However, what needs to be determined in these cases is if the police agency concerned made the right decision to give chase. Was it fair for the agency to engage in a pursuit when public safety is at serious risk? It is also important to ensure that an impartial third party or an outside agency investigates the law enforcement agency, which is involved in the incident. Victims or their families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who can ensure that their legal rights are protected and that a fair and objective investigation is conducted.