This is a statement from Councilman Joe Buscaino about this morning's hit and run in Encino. Besides asking for big rewards he is now asking the State Legislature for big penalties for these kinds of crimes.
"I am deeply saddened and disturbed that a third hit and run fatality has occurred over the span of the last three weeks.
While the City of Los Angeles is taking immediate action to address this ongoing problem, I call upon the state legislature to stiffen the penalties for hit and run crimes, making them equivalent in seriousness to DUI offenses.
A traffic accident is not a crime. It becomes a crime the moment you leave the scene and fail to render aid to the victim and fail to take responsibility for your actions. We must do everything we can to change the culture of driver apathy in Los Angeles, where motorists continue to display a lack of responsibility and concern, leaving a human being out in the street to die."
Following up on an exclusive gut wrenching story by our intrepid Hal Eisner, the family of 26 year old Manny Ayala was out on PCH in Wilmington this afternoon passing out flyers, pleading for help in solving the week old hit and run death of the 26-year-old father.
Manny had been crossing PCH near Wilmington about 7:45 pm last Monday night.. of course not the safest thing to to, when he was hit by a driver who just kept on going. He was hospitalized on life support before his mother Laura pulled the plug a couple of days later. Now she and Manny's father and their extended family are pleading for help in identifying the driver who hit their boy and never stopped. They'll now be ( presumably ) prosecuted for leaving the scene of an accident, when, ironically, if indeed it was a tragic accident and they had stopped and waited for police, it's possible there would have not been a crime, just a sad sad loss.
Manny's long time girlfriend, mother of their 4-yr-old girl, his mother, his father, grandmother, and other family and friends were all out in Wilmington passing out flyers, posting them on windows , in businesses, giving them to anyone who'd take one. They had that vacant stare so common in victims of tragedy who are trying to make some sense of things. The police say they have ''very little'' to go on.. maybe two women driving a grey Toyota sedan. Not much. There is some surveillance video from a nearby business, police will look at that.. I've seen it... it shows Manny in the street, the accident isn't clear. Hopefully someone will come forward and do the right thing so Manny's not just another statistic.
(FOX 11) Laura Schumann was in tears. Her son was killed by a hit and run driver last Monday around 7:45pm. Happened on PCH near Wilmington Blvd. He was hit by a gray car. Witnesses said two women were inside and kept going after the collision.
Schumann was in tears describing the image she had of her son left on the side of the road as "road kill." The brother and sisters... same way. The emotion was very heavy in their Corona home. And, Ayala's girlfriend of 8 years, and mother of his 4 year old daughter Wednesday, couldn't hold the tears back either. She wanted who ever hit him to turn themselves in. "They've taken my soul mate from me" she said.
All of the family members I spoke with say they will leaflet the neighborhood around PCH and Wilmington until they get answers and, like their new Facebook page called Facebook.com/JusticeforEmanuelAyala says, until they get justice for Emanuel.