Louisiana drivers probably know that it is illegal to flee the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Still, hit-and-run incidents are too frequent. They often happen because drivers fear being held responsible for injury or death, especially if they are intoxicated. Authorities are rightly frustrated by drivers trying to avoid detection by leaving an accident scene, and especially so when fatalities are involved.
Fortunately, the body damage to a vehicle in a fatal hit-and-run accident can sometimes help to identify the owner. This is what happened recently when vigilant workers at a body repair shop in Baton Rouge contacted police after they realized that the damages to a blue vehicle they were repairing matched police communication about the vehicle allegedly involved in a pedestrian’s death.
On a recent Sunday night, a 45-year-old man was walking across an I-10 exit when a blue car collided with him, killing him. The driver left the scene, and police publicized what they knew about the vehicle and how it would likely have been damaged.
The next day the owner of a blue vehicle attempted to claim insurance compensation for damages. He also took the car for repairs. Staff at the workshop connected the dots, and law enforcement officers arrested the car owner and his friend while both were waiting for the vehicle to be repaired. Police have since alleged that the companion was driving on the night of the incident.
While the driver will face a felony charge of hit-and-run, among other charges, the car’s owner will be charged with insurance fraud, being an accessory and obstructing justice.
And what about the pedestrian who was killed? Certainly some of those close to him may consider getting legal assistance to file a civil lawsuit of unlawful death against the driver and the vehicle owner.
Source: The Advocate, “Two arrested after man killed in hit-and-run accident,” March 11, 2014