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Witnesses prevent hit-and-run driver from fleeing accident scene

One of the most frustrating and tragic kinds of traffic accidents in California occurs when the driver who appears to be at fault is able to successfully flee the scene. Police may have difficulty finding and arresting the driver, and the victims of the accident may have difficulty recovering damages for injuries suffered in the accident. In a heartening variation on this theme, witnesses to a recent truck and motorcycle accident in Hawthorne were partly successful in preventing the driver who caused the collision from successfully running away.

The collision was captured on videotape, allowing the police to put together a detailed account of the accident. The motorcyclist was headed west on Rosecrans Avenue and was waiting for a red light to change at Hindry Avenue; he was apparently intending to turn left onto the access ramp for the 405 freeway. As he waited, the cyclist was hit from behind by a pickup truck. The truck was not traveling at high speed, but it did not stop after the collision. Instead, the driver of the pickup attempted a left turn with the motorcyclist trapped under the truck. The cyclist was dragged over 400 feet before the pickup stopped. The video showed than numerous witnesses chased and surrounded the pickup, ultimately forcing the driver to stop.

Police arrested the pickup driver and charged him with hit-and-run driving. He was released after posting the required bail. The victim, an Air Force captain, suffered "massive damage" to his leg. The injuries were apparently not life-threatening, but doctors were not certain that the leg could be saved.

The facts gathered to date, especially the videotape, appear to show that the driver of the pickup truck was totally at fault for the accident. He working at the time of the accident, and his employer may be partially liable for the captain's medical expenses and damages. Even though liability seems clear, anyone involved in a similar accident may wish to consult a lawyer who handles motorcycle accident cases for a review of the facts and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

Source: Hawthorne Daily Breeze, "Gas company pickup truck driver hits motorcyclist in Hawthorne, dragging him 436 feet," Larry Altman, Feb. 14, 2017

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