South Seattle Emerald: Pain for families lingers as hit and run investigations stall

Screenshot from the South Seattle Emerald. Click to read the full story.

Screenshot from the South Seattle Emerald. Click to read the full story.

It’s hard enough to see the people you love most in the world suffer and fight to slowly recover from a serious injury they received just for walking across the street.

But as Tom James at the South Seattle Emerald reports this week, the pain is exacerbated when the person responsible flees the scene. Even with good clues (like locating the suspect vehicle), hit and run investigations are notoriously slow and often remain unsolved.

This powerful story is an absolute must-read from beginning to end. From the South Seattle Emerald:

Quianna Holden is the kind of mother we all should have, if ever out of the darkness evil comes to strike us down.

A little less than two years ago, on the way home from a late-night teen basketball program, Quianna’s son Trevon was struck and gravely injured by a hit-and-run driver while in a crosswalk on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

In the hospital, after he came out of an 80-day coma, she used an alphabet board to ask if he could remember the face of the driver who hit him, and summoned police when he said he could.

When he finally came home from the hospital, seven months after he was hit but still only able to speak a few words and confined to a wheelchair, she moved into the dining room of the family’s South Seattle home, so that she could sleep on the same floor as him.

And when, by her account a year after the accident, she found out the police had stopped actively looking for the driver who hit her son, despite having found the vehicle, she kindled a righteous anger.

“I don’t want him to give up so I push him, and he pushes back,” she said. “And that’s what I want, because that lets me know that he’s fighting just as hard as I am.”

Trevon’s case is one of three hit-and-runs involving South Seattle residents where the investigations seem to have stalled. In all three, the cars were found soon after the crimes were committed, one with the owner still inside. In two, promises from the mayor’s office didn’t help – or were broken. And in all three, after a flurry of publicity, progress seemed to stop, and families described being left with little but questions.

Read more…

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5 Responses to South Seattle Emerald: Pain for families lingers as hit and run investigations stall

  1. Lucas W says:

    It sounds like the law needs to be changed: make hit and runs the equivalent of murder for the purposes of police investigation. Can that be done at the state level?

    • Cheif says:

      All those politicians who would be making those laws drive to work every day, drive to the stores every weekend, and everywhere else in between. People who live like that would never, ever make something that they could do themselves “simply” out of inattention such a severe crime, out of fear that it could come back to haunt them. That’s right, politicians act not in the interests of their constituents or their constituents’ loved ones, they act based on their own selfishness. Are you surprised?

      • William C. says:

        It’s not quite as bad as that. Remember, a majority of voters drive regularly. It’s quite possible the politicians are actually listening to their constituents.

      • jay says:

        One usually doesn’t “run” out of inattention (though with a large vehicle (say, recycling truck) and small victim I suppose it is possible)
        And while you are right that it is unlikely there is much desire to make the “hit” part anymore than a $140 ticket, the “run” part is already a felony.
        Well, sure, there is that virtually never applied “vulnerable users law”, but since it is rarely applied (and not a serious crime) it probably does still fit your hypothesis, with a bit of political grandstanding thrown in for extra credit.

        While I understand that for a criminal charge, a claim that “the car was stolen” presents a reasonable doubt (even if one “knows” the person is lying, it is still a “reasonable” doubt without evidence to the contrary) Though in a civil suit, maybe not so much.

        But I can’t understand the; ” one with the owner still inside”. (The standard is “reasonable” doubt, while being carjacked/kidnapped by someone who then hit and ran is “possible” it is stretching “reasonable”, unless one can afford really good lawyers)

      • Lucas W says:

        I’m not suggesting the sentencing for hit and run to be changed, it would be the same crime, just the increase powers granted to the police and justice system for investigative purposes or compelling testimony or whatever else is required to the same level as murder. (Maybe that is legally impossible, IANAL)

        Make owning a car involved in a hit and run that isn’t reported stolen probable cause at least. It sounded like a few or even most of the cases didn’t involve stolen cars, not even reported stolen after the incident.

        Would it be better if the police closed the cases, would it allow the families to pursue civil lawsuits against for example the hit and run car owners who refused to talk to the police and at least take all of their assets if they can’t put them in jail? Would it allow the names of those car owners to become public?

        It would be good to identify the relevant laws tying the hands of the police and remind people of them every time this happens, and hopefully inspire a bunch of angry emails to state legislators or spawn an initiative. Name the law after the most media friendly victim, and that sort of thing.

        A lot of voters also have or know kids that cross a street at one time or another, and maybe also walk across a street occasionally themselves after they get out of their cars.

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