leifertlaw June 19, 2012 Hit and Run
Authorities with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office are scouring the Oakland Park area for an individual who reportedly fatally struck a 17-year-old bicyclist and then fled.
Our Broward hit-and-run attorneys know that there are a number of reasons why someone would leave the scene of an accident with injuries.
First, it’s entirely possible that the driver didn’t realize they had struck a human being. This is often the case for hit-and-run incidents that happen at night or on poorly lit roads.
Secondly, there may have been a medical condition to blame. Just take the example of the federal commerce secretary who was cited for felony hit-and-run in California recently. As it turned out, he had suffered a series of seizures that resulted in his loss of vehicle control.
Thirdly, fear is a big factor for a lot of people involved in hit-and-runs. There are cases in which a person may have been drinking, and there is the fear of being arrested for DUI-related charges. But for a lot of people, the intensity of the entire situation causes them to panic. They aren’t clearly thinking it through.
We certainly understand this, particularly given that under FL Statute 316.027, the offense is a third-degree felony, carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison. However, it is very important that you contact a defense lawyer as soon as possible – before even turning yourself into police. The reason for this is two-fold:
1. It ensures your safety during the process.
2. It allows you the opportunity to speak to your lawyer before you say anything to police, who are going to want to question you immediately and possibly have you submit to chemical testing. You don’t want to do any of this before speaking with your attorney.
It’s noteworthy too that media reports of hit-and-run incidents can be incredibly biased. Just take for example the story of this Oakland Park case. The reporter began the story by saying that the motorist, “turned their car into a weapon, used it to kill a man and then, used it to flee as the victim died.” An inflammatory statement like this fails to take into consideration any extenuating circumstances that may exist in this case.
Let’s take a look at what we do know of this case:
The 17-year-old El Salvador native was reportedly riding his bicycle home after playing soccer in the park. He was reportedly crossing the street near Powerline Road and was struck as he was making his way across the crosswalk.
An ambulance transported him to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Investigators have said that the driver reportedly got out for a moment and then drove away.
It’s unclear how many witnesses there were to the crash, but it seems they did not get a good look at the driver. They were unable to identify whether it was a male or female. However, they have indicated the vehicle was a late-90s model, light blue Chevrolet or GMC pick up truck or sport utility vehicle.
If you are facing criminal charges in Broward or Palm Beach counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.
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