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Hit and Run Accident Decapitates LA Pedestrian

los angeles freeway

A horrific hit and run accident decapitated a pedestrian in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 15, 2015. The LA Police Department said that the victim was walking alone in Palms at about 8:40 p.m. on Sunday evening when he crossed northbound on Venice Boulevard not far from Hughes Boulevard. He was struck and killed by a 2001 Maroon Buick LeSabre. The vehicle had been listed as stolen and police are still looking for the driver. The suspect has been described as a young African-American male driving the sedan with the license plate “7KWC773.”

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the suspect.
It is thought that the suspect was driving at about 80 mph when he struck and killed the pedestrian in Palms. Reports indicate that the suspected car thief was accelerating away from an undercover police car at the time of the accident.

Victim’s father seeks justice

The victim has been identified as Jack Phoenix, who was only 15 years old. Jack’s father, Nick, told reporters that his son was an “incredible artist” who was socially outgoing and well-liked by all. In the aftermath of the family’s heartbreaking loss, the teen’s father says that his only wish is to have the suspect behind bars so that he cannot harm anyone else. The family is planning to honor Jack by holding a memorial service at a local gallery so that the boy’s artwork can be displayed.

Pedestrian injury and death in California

During 2013 and 2014, California held the disgraceful distinction of having the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the country. In 2013, 701 pedestrians lost their lives in car accidents. The following year saw that statistic hold steady at about 700. In fact, 23 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in California are pedestrians – a grim statistic that exceeds the national average. The majority of pedestrian fatalities in the state occur at night, with male victims, and with drivers who are speeding and/or intoxicated.

California has laws to protect pedestrians. For example, motorists must yield to pedestrians who are crossing at intersections, or at unmarked or marked crosswalks. Motorists are required to stop and yield right of way to pedestrians when pulling out of driveways or parking spaces. Additionally, motorists are expected to exercise due caution even when pedestrians are walking outside of designated pedestrian areas. In nearly all circumstances, California law grants pedestrians the right of way.

When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, a personal injury attorney can assess liability. The motorist may be found liable for failing to follow applicable traffic laws or failing to exercise due caution. In some situations, the motorist may face criminal charges as well as a civil lawsuit. In cases that involve wrongful death, such as the horrific death of 15-year-old Jack Phoenix, the surviving family members may bring a complaint against the negligent driver.

Steps to take after an accident

After you have sustained injuries in a car crash or lost a loved one to a negligent driver, you have the right to explore your legal options. Los Angeles residents can contact Ellis Law at 1-800-INJURED to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case review with our car accident injury lawyers.