Two men in their early 20s were recently killed in a Highland Park hit and run accident. According to reports, a truck plowed into another vehicle a little after 1 a.m. Sunday morning. The driver of the truck fled the scene.
Police are still searching for the hit-and-run driver. When he is located, he will face felony hit and run charges for his role in causing the deaths of the two young men.
Hit and Runs Are Illegal in Los Angeles
It illegal to hit another vehicle, person, or property and knowingly flee the scene of the accident. This is known as a hit-and-run. If you are involved in an accident, you can’t leave the scene. You have an obligation to assist anyone who may be hurt. You must also notify the police if there are any injuries.
In California, a hit-and-run can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The charge will ultimately depend on (1) the extent of damage caused by the accident and (2) whether anyone is injured or killed.
Here, the truck driver struck another vehicle and immediately hightailed it out of town. Since the two men died in the accident, he will face felony hit-and-run charges when he is located by the police.
Prosecutors can get a conviction for a felony hit-and-run, as defined in California Vehicle Code 20001 VC, if they can prove:
- The driver was involved in a car accident
- The driver knew or should have known that someone else was injured or killed in the crash, and
- The driver fled the scene and did not provide assistance, as required by law.
The state can rely on both direct and circumstantial evidence to support their criminal case.
Hit and Run Drivers May Face Additional Charges
drivers who are involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident may not just be charged with a hit-and-run. The state may also choose to file charges for gross vehicular manslaughter.
Gross vehicular manslaughter, as defined in Penal Code 192 PC, occurs when a driver commits an infraction or misdemeanor behind the wheel while driving with gross negligence. A driver might be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter if they were speeding, texting, or engaged in another unlawful act behind the wheel.
Fatal Hit and Runs Carry Severe Penalties
Absent any aggravating factors, a felony hit-and-run conviction can be punished by anywhere between 24 and 48 months in a California State prison. Defendants may also be responsible for paying criminal fines and completing court-imposed terms of felony probation.
It’s a driver is convicted of both felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter, at least five years will be tacked onto the manslaughter sentence. on its own, grocery hit you or manslaughter is punishable by up to six years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
In addition to criminal charges, the driver may also be sued by the families of the two young men who were killed in the crash. California law allows family members to file wrongful-death lawsuits to recover compensation for their personal losses after a fatal accident. Criminal and civil cases are separate and distinct, so even if the driver avoids criminal charges, he may be required to pay those families a significant amount of money.