On Wednesday an 11-year old girl ran across South Lynnhaven Parkway at Crimson Holly Lane in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) with her friends. During the sprint an I-pod was dropped, when the young girl stopped to pick it up she was hit by a car.
The driver never even bothered to stop and see if she was alright. Instead, he kept on going without ever turning back leaving her lying in the street, unconscious and severely injured.
When I hear stories like this it makes me so angry. What type of person can hit someone and leave them for dead, especially a child? As a mom myself I would hope that even if the driver was at-fault, which he clearly was in this instance, that he would stop and try to render aide, it could mean the difference between life or death.
The punishment for negligent drivers that commit a felony hit-and-run is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of as much as $2,500. By not stopping, they are basically saying, "Your life means nothing to me, I don't care if you live or die."
Luckily with the help of witnesses the at-fault driver was identified and charged him with felony hit-and-run. Not surprisingly, this isn't the first time this driver has been in trouble with the law. In fact court records revealed multiple traffic charges, including reckless driving, driving under the influence, speeding and other infractions!
Hit and run is a cowardly and heinous act. It is an issue that should not fall beneath the radar. We need to expose it and create awareness. People need to take responsibility for their actions and be aware that if they do hit someone and flee the scene, the end result is much worse. An accident is bad enough, but don't let an accident become a crime. Additionally, those that witness a hit and run should step forward to report it.
The AAA Foundation analysis showed that approximately 11 percent of all police reported crashes involve a hit and run driver, and that the problem is especially alarming for pedestrians. "About 60 percent of the people killed in hit and run crashes are pedestrians," said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, adding that "1 in 5 pedestrian fatalities involve hit and run drivers."
From 1994 to 2003, a total of 14,914 people were killed in hit and run crashes in the United States, according to the Foundation's analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System databases.
This number is way too high, and I wonder if those drivers had stopped to help the victims, how many would have lived?