Man Struck 13-Year-Old Girl Walking to School Twice with Jeep, Apologized, Then Took Off

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
September 7, 2019 Updated: September 8, 2019

A man hit a 13-year-old girl twice with his Jeep as she was walking to school in Los Angeles on Sept. 6. But instead of helping her, he said sorry then fled the scene. Police are seeking help in locating the culprit.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said Natalia Rodriguez was walking to school in the Pico-Union area on Friday morning when a man who was heading north in a gray Jeep Grand Cherokee struck her at about 6:30 a.m., reported KTLA.

The man allegedly hit the girl twice while she was crossing the road at a marked crosswalk at Pico Boulevard and Alvarado Street.

“He actually stopped, went in reverse, and then came back and struck her a second time,” LAPD Detective Moses Castillo told KTLA.

“He got out of his vehicle, approached her and told her, ‘Hey, I’m sorry,’ but then got back in his car and took off,” said Castillo.

The victim was later helped by another man and his son who called the police.

The police describe the alleged culprit as a black man in his early 30s. He is 6 feet, 2 inches tall, has black hair and brown eyes, and weighs about 270 pounds. His license plate was from another, unknown state, according to the police.

Police are offering $25,000 cash reward to anyone with information leading to an arrest, and those with information can contact Detective Castillo at 213-833-3713.

School Zone Accidents

Every year in the United States at least 100 children die and about 25,000 get injured while walking to or from school, according to Timothy J Ryan and Associates.

About half of these deaths that happen due to collision involve children who are 15 years or older. The law firm says that school children are getting increasingly distracted by the electronic devices they own and they keep surfing the internet for various purposes while walking, making them more prone to accidents.

“When they focus on screens, they don’t always look at the road before they enter a crossing,” the company said in a post on its website.

“A recent study found that 1 out of 4 high school students engaged in distracted walking in school zones. About 1 out of 6 middle school students engaged in similar behavior,” the website states.

How to Keep Children Safe on Roads?

Mary Bridge Children’s, a multicare service provider suggests eight guidelines to keep in mind while walking to school:

  • Use crosswalks and look both ways
  • If children are walking on the right side, they should make an eye-contact with the driver and remain aware of each other
  • Be mindful and avoid the use of phone or surfing the internet on electronic devices while walking
  • Walk to school in a group as a group is more visible to the driver on the road
  • Use traffic signals and walk on the sideways or paths
  • Children below 10 years of age should walk with an adult
  • Use clothing, backpack etc. that’s reflective. Avoid dark clothing as it makes children more susceptible to accidents on the road
  • Adults should teach children by example and should put down their phones and electronic devices while walking
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