April 14, 2016 News
Firefighter and paramedics taking victim out of crashed car

A teenage girl and a 55-year-old man were identified as the two victims killed in a hit-and-run crash in South Gate that left at least five others with serious injuries, confirms the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. Officials say that three of those harmed were listed in critical condition.

Police were alerted to the accident on Garfield Avenue, close to El Paseo Street, on March 26 around 4:30 p.m. The deceased – later identified as Angie Ruiz and Lester Larios of Bell — and the injured were riding in a Mitsubishi which was making a left turn on South Garfield Avenue into the Shopping Center. Both Ruiz and Larios were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the LA County Fire Department, while the injured were transported to an area hospital.

Vehicle T-boned by Mercedes

The accident happened when the Mitsubishi Galant was turning into the Town Center Plaza shopping plaza, and was T-boned by a beige Mercedes-Benz. Aaron Ponce who witnessed the horrific scene told police that the driver of the Mercedes was “was driving fast.” Police report that the driver of the Galant and a passenger fled the scene, but authorities were able to locate the passenger.

While excessive speed was the likely culprit in the collision, the South Gate Police Department reports that the two-vehicle accident is still under investigation. Police are hoping to locate some video footage of the crash to help piece together the sequence of events.

Authorities are currently looking for Bryan Rojas, 22, in connection with the fatal hit and run. Rojas, who is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and Hispanic, is the suspected driver in the crash. He suffered a forehead injury in the accident and was last seen with a visible mark on his head. South Gate authorities are asking anyone who witnessed the accident or has information to please contact the police.

Liability issues in hit and run accidents

There are two kinds of hit and run offenses in California — misdemeanor and felony. Drivers may face charges of a misdemeanor hit and run under the following circumstances:

  • They leave the scene of the crash
  • Property damage resulted from the accident
  • They left the accident without providing identifying information to all involved parties

A felony hit and run is centered upon personal injury rather than property damage. Motorists may face felony charges if the hit and run accident caused another person to suffer serious injury or death. A criminal conviction may also serve as additional evidence in a civil claim, in which the plaintiffs may sue to recover for past and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and other specific damages in the event of a death.

In some hit and run accidents, the driver flees the scene because of pending legal charges, intoxication, or lack of insurance or a driver’s license. Regardless of the cause, these types of crashes call for extensive knowledge of laws pertaining to uninsured and underinsured motorists in California.

At The Salamati Law Firm, our legal team specializes in personal injury law and achieving maximum recovery in car accident claims. Protect your rights in the wake of a hit and run by enlisting a Los Angeles car accident attorney who gets results every time. Schedule a free consultation with Sean F. Salamati by calling 888-259-4060. We don’t collect a dime unless we secure compensation for your personal injury claim.

Resources:

  1. LosAngelesCBSLocal, 2 Dead, 3 Critically Injured In 2-Vehicle Crash, Hit-And-Run In South Gate http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/03/26/2-dead-5-injured-in-2-vehicle-crash-in-south-gate/
  2. LA Times, 15-year-old girl one of two victims named in South Gate hit-and-run, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-15-year-old-hit-and-run-20160327-story.html