A 61-year-old man, who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a motorized wheelchair in Lynwood on December 10, 2008, has been identified as Augustine Joe Martinez. According to this Los Angeles Times news blog, Martinez was riding his wheelchair along the curb line on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Carson Drive when the vehicle struck him.
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officials who are conducting the investigation are asking for the public’s help in finding this hit-and-run driver. So far, no vehicle descriptions have been made available. If you witnessed this incident or if you have any information about it, please call the police at 323-568-4796.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Augustine Joe Martinez. Here was a man who was going about his business and he was not only struck down by a seemingly negligent driver, but gets left on the street to die. What kind of a person does that? I think this was someone utterly callous and without any regard for another human life.
According to California Vehicle Code 20001 (a): “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.” The motorist is required under California law to stop – whether the auto accident was their fault or not. Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is a criminal offense and may be punished with jail time and serious penalties. If this Lynwood hit-and-run driver was operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, he or she will very likely face vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI charges.
I sincerely hope that the person responsible for the death of Augustine Joe Martinez is held both criminally and civilly responsible for this tragic incident. I would also urge Martinez’s family to contact a skilled Southern California pedestrian accident attorney, who will help protect their legal rights and get them the compensation they rightfully deserve. An experienced personal injury lawyer will also look into whether a dangerous roadway played a part in this fatal Lynwood accident. If that was the case, then the city or the government agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could be held liable. Claims against government agencies must be filed within six months of the accident.