Archive for Monday, August 17, 2009

Hit and runs often not reported

August 17, 2009


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When she arrived at the gym’s parking lot, Hilary Robinson faced with the daunting task of pulling her large van into a tiny parking stall. It would have been difficult for anyone, but Robinson was a new driver, only 17.

As she pulled forward, she felt the telltale bump of her vehicle hitting a car parked next to her.

It was then that the internal struggle began: Stay or drive away?

Robinson chose to do what a majority of Lawrence residents in similar situations do not: She left a note with her contact information under the car’s windshield wiper.

“When she called me back an hour later she basically laughed at me,” Robinson said of the other car’s driver. “It was only a tiny scratch that scraped off a bunch of her bumper sticker.”

According to a Journal-World analysis of Lawrence Police Department records, hit-and-run accidents were more than a quarter of all accidents that occurred in the city during the past year — about 800 separate incidents. Of the more than 360 accidents that occurred in parking lots, 59 percent of them were hit-and-run.

Police spokesman Sgt. Bill Cory said that with every accident — even minor fender benders — the law requires individuals to call police to file a report. If the accident involves an unattended vehicle, he said it was also necessary to leave a note with your name, address and vehicle registration number.

Failure to comply with that law, Cory said, could result in a citation for leaving the scene of an accident, which is a traffic misdemeanor similar to driving under the influence.

Though DUIs and operating under the influence carry harsher fines, a citation for leaving the scene of an accident still has the potential to land the offending driver in jail if injuries occur.

“What’s more serious, somebody driving impaired possibly to kill a bunch of people, or leaving the scene of an accident where there are serious injuries?” Cory said. “I don’t know. That’s a societal issue, but they’re both misdemeanors.”

During the past year, drivers responsible for hit-and-run accidents were apprehended only one out of every four times.

At the time of her accident, Robinson said she wasn’t sure what to do and had to call her dad for advice. Eventually she decided it was better to be safe and leave the note.

“I knew if someone ever scratched my car or anything, even if it was a small one, it would be nice to have an apology,” she said.


jaywalker 8 years, 10 months ago

What the....?! Who's writing the headlines at LJW? "Hit and runs" by definition are not reported, otherwise there'd be no "run", now would there?

Mike Hoffmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, when they said "Hit and Runs Often Not Reported" I assumed they meant by the person hit, not the hitter. That is like saying "Anonymous Tipsters Often Go Unknown."

rbwaa 8 years, 10 months ago

I stopped at Pine's last summer and when I left I found a note on my windshield with a detailed description of a car that had scratched my car and left. An employee of Pine's who had witnessed the incident left the note with his name and contact information. I appreciated the time and effort he took to leave the note -- that's the kind of good citizen we all should be.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 10 months ago

I applaud Hilary for her actions. I think people should receive a harsh punishment for driving away and leaving someone hurt and just lying there. Enough with the remarks about liberal college. We are not supposed to judge people by the group they are in, remember. I want a poll asking the question, have you ever been an anonymous tipster?

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