LAPD Alerts Media to Their Confusion on Traffic Laws

1_11_10_lapd.jpgFinally, the LAPD grabs the driver that knocked that bike over. What? They’re cuffing and searching the rider for nothing more than being in a group ride? Oh. Photo: Dr. Alex Thompson/Flickr

(Updated, January 13, 2010: While the release was handed to Mr. Morales, it turns out it was not cleared by the central media relations staff.  At their request, the names of the victim and suspect have been removed both here and in the previous comments section.)

Yesterday, the LAPD released a press release on last week’s hit-and-run crash in Downtown Los Angeles and it was posted on the comment thread by the Eastside Bike Club and Voice Newspapers Carlos Morales:

FELONY HIT AND RUN IN CENTRAL AREA
On January 6, 2010, at approximately 8:25 a.m. thirty-seven-year-old xxx, a resident of Los Angeles was driving her
2007 Porsche Caynan eastbound on 2ns Street in the number two lane,
when she collided with the rear of xxx riding his bicycle
eastbound in the number two lane of 2nd Street.

According to witnesses xxx got out of her vehicle and stated
the sun was in her eyes. She checked on the condition of xxx,
asked a witness to call 911, re-entered her vehicle and fled the scene. xxx was transported by ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital and
treated for chest and back pain.

Approximately one-hour later xxx went to Rampart Station to
report the incident. xxx was not under the influence of an
alcoholic beverage and she is a license driver with insurance. Due to
Everett fulfilling the requirement of20001 (a) VC she was not arrested
for hit and run.
This case will be presented to the City Attorney’s Office for review.

The good news is that the LAPD is still referring to the crash as a "felony hit and run."  The bad news is that they don’t seem to understand the California Vehicle Code.  "Dude on a Bike" posted links to CVC 20001, which, amongst other things,requires compliance with CVC20003.  Both statutes are available after the jump.  You tell me, does it sound like Ms. Everett complied with both statutes?

CVC 2001:

Duty to Stop at Scene
of Accident

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 and shall fulfill
the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004.

(b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph
(2), a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be
punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in
a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine
of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more
than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that
imprisonment and fine .

(2) If the accident described in subdivision
(a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a
person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished
by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three,
or four years, or in a county jail for not less than
90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not
less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than
ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment
and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice
and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or
eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this
paragraph.

(3) In imposing the minimum fine required
by this subdivision, the court shall take into consideration
the defendant’s ability to pay the fine and, in the
interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record,
may reduce the amount of that minimum fine to less than
the amount otherwise required by this subdivision.

(c)
A person who flees the scene of the crime after committing a violation
of Section 191.5 of, or paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192
of the Penal Code, upon conviction of any of those sections, in
addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed, shall be
punished by an additional term of imprisonment of five years in the
state prison. This additional term shall not be imposed unless the
allegation is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted by the
defendant or found to be true by the trier of fact. The court shall not
strike a finding that brings a person within the provisions of this
subdivision or an allegation made pursuant to this subdivision.

(d) As used in this section, "permanent,
serious injury" means the loss or permanent impairment
of function of a bodily member or organ.

Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 854, Stats. 1999. Effective October 1, 1999.
Amended Sec. 30, Ch. 747, Stats. 2007. Effective January 1, 2008.

CVC 20003:

Duty Upon Injury or
Death

20003.  (a)
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting
in injury to or death of any person shall also give
his or her name, current residence address, the names
and current residence addresses of any occupant of the
driver’s vehicle injured in the accident, the registration
number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and the
name and current residence address of the owner to the
person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle
collided with, and shall give the information to any
traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident.
The driver also shall render to any person injured in
the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting,
or making arrangements for transporting, any injured
person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical
or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment
is necessary or if that transportation is requested
by any injured person.

(b) Any driver or injured occupant
of a driver’s vehicle subject to the provisions of subdivision
(a) shall also, upon being requested, exhibit his or
her driver’s license, if available, or, in the case
of an injured occupant, any other available identification,
to the person struck or to the driver or occupants of
any vehicle collided with, and to any traffic or police
officer at the scene of the accident.

Amended
Ch. 1103, Stats. 1991. Effective January 1, 1992.
Amended Ch. 621, Stats. 1992. Effective January 1, 1993.

Thanks to Carlos Morales, Ross Hirsch, Danny Jimenez and Colin Bogart for basically writing this story for me.

  • MU

    In the police department’s defense, they have some discretion on what charges they think are appropriate to pursue and act on. (City attorneys will determine actual charges.)

    The driver did stop at the time of the accident, render what assistance she could to the cyclist, and then reported the incident to the police on her own. Should she have left the scene? No. But I’m not sure heaping punishment on her when she did, finally, do the right thing achieve much except encourage people to flee accidents and never look back.

  • Roadblock

    MU. Re-read the law. Particularly the part about about identifying yourself. She didn’t do that. That’s a crime.

  • skd

    Stopping your car and yelling “Someone call 911” then fleeing the scene is not rendering aid. It is fleeing an accident scene. She hit the bicyclist. The law is clear, you must stop, and in the case of injuries, call the police department to report the accident then wait for the police to arrive. She did none of that. This is bullshit and proves that there are two laws in this city and state. One for cars and another for bicyclists. Separate and unequal. And bicyclists are getting the shaft. Her flight was an admission of guilt.

  • MU,

    How do we let the City Attorney know to pursue the Hit and Run Charge?

    SKD,

    Don’t forget the special set of laws governing those with lots of money. (she was driving a Porshe Cayman

  • roadblock

    I have had to call several times to talk through a maze of people at the CA’s office to attempt to make sure that my case (originally classified by officers on scene as “felony hit and run”) at least get charged as something more than a misdemeanor property damage…. “YES I WAS INJURED” “YES I HAVE MEDICAL BILLS” “YES I AM WILLING TO TAKE THE STAND” ….”ok then we will add the misdemeanor injury charge” I still don’t know if it was ever truly added to the charges…. I’m going to head down there sometime this week and speak in person (hopefully) to someone who cares. As I see it Trutanich is soft on crime until I know 100% that both injury and property damage are added to the charges against the drunk who hit me.

  • Greg

    Does the press release really state “Porsche Caynan”? I can’t find the press release on the LAPD site.

    There is no such vehicle as a Porshce Caynan. There is a porche cayman and a porsche cayenne, but no Porsche Caynan.

    Also, why no link to where you got the news originally? This press release seems rather suspicious. There are more errors, such as “she is a license driver with insurance.” “A license driver”, really LAPD?

    This “press release” was posted in the comment thread of another article also on LA Streetsblog. I don’t believe this is a press release from LAPD at all. Where did Carlos Morales get it from? Did he write it himself?

  • Carlos is the editor of The Voice Newspapers in East L.A. and a very credible journalist. If he says it was an LAPD release, then I believe it.

  • Greg

    I just got off the phone with Officer Baek. I called him at the number listed for the LAPD newsroom.

    http://www.lapdonline.org/newsroom/content_basic_view/2023

    He states that all official LAPD press releases are online at http://www.lapdonline.org

    This story is not there. He has never heard of la.streetsblog.org or of the Voice Newspapers. I don’t know what to say, other than that I don’t think this was an LAPD press release, and the only mention online of it is on this blog.

    I called the number for the Voice newspaper and the number has been busy for a while now.

  • Greg

    Damien, please follow up and/or retract this story. An official press release as this purports to be was not issued by the LAPD in this case. Check it out yourself by calling the LAPD media relations and checking LAPD’s press releases on lapdonline.org. I can’t believe this is still up here. Its kind of embarassing.

  • Gregory,

    I’ve seen the email from the local field office to Carlos which was an official statement to his media request. La Voz/The Voice Newspapers are a recognized outlet in East L.A. That the statement was released by a field office and not the central division. When I’m back in L.A. I’ll get a paper copy in my hand and post it as a pdf to make you happy.

  • Perhaps my below comment should have been to this article rather than the previous one, here it is copied here:

    I could certainly envision a situation where in the interest of getting information out timely misinformation was provided and/or internal procedures may not have been followed. Perhaps here, however, this misinformation, if it turns out to be as such, in the form of a *press release* or unofficial statement, works to a certain benefit. More on that later.

    I, too, would like to avoid putting out any misinformation, but I can say with what seems to be a high level of certainty that LAPD has classified this as a “felony hit and run.” I’ve also been informed that there is a police report (which I have not seen confirmed anywhere that there was one), and that it has not been assigned to a detective yet (too soon, noting incident occurred on 1.6). More on that to come, too.

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