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Hit and Run Accidents

What will/can the police do?

From the Kansas City Police Department Victims Advocate Web Page

Will your case be investigated for criminal prosecution?
What can you do to seek restitution for damages resulting from this hit and run accident ?

Criminal prosecution requires positive identification of the "driver" of the hit & run vehicle. Although the license number is used to identify the registered owner of the vehicle, it can not be used alone for criminal prosecution without a witness who can positively identify the driver.

If you or a witness can identify the "driver" by viewing a photo lineup and are willing to appear in court if necessary, the case will be assigned to a detective for investigation. Hit and run accidents on private property or involving parked vehicles normally will not be assigned for investigation.

If your hit and run accident is assigned to a detective for investigation, you will receive a letter within approximately two weeks from the date of the accident. You will be instructed to call the detective.

The process for seeking restitution for damages occurs through civil litigation. No identification of the hit and run driver is necessary......

Kansas City is by no means the only department that follows this policy. Many larger and medim size cities have similar policies.

Financial Responsibilty? - You!

Insurance Information Institute Press Release 11/3/2003
Hit and Run Accidents Raise the Risk of Being Victimized Twice

Nationally, 11 of every 100 traffic accidents are a hit and run.....after a hit and run driver flees the accident scene, the unfortunate victim is responsible for all the expenses, as well as suffering the inconvenience of being without his or her car while it’s being repaired. Since the vast majority of hit and run accidents cause vehicle damage only, the victim’s largest expenses usually are for repairs and a replacement rental car. But many insured drivers do not have adequate coverage on their insurance policy to handle the additional expense and aggravation of being the victim of a hit and run crash.

Statute of Limitations

St Petersburg Times  - Florida
By Suzannah Gonzales, Times Staff Writer
Published October 8, 2003

The hit-and-run driver responsible for the death of a 38-year-old Crystal River man finally has been identified - more than a decade after the crash occurred, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

However, because of the statute of limitations, the man won't face criminal prosecution, according to the patrol and prosecutors.

(David A. Kifer, Appellant-Defendant, vs. No. 82A01-0003-CR-90 State of Indiana)
State of Indiana Official Cases

On the morning of October 2, 1987, David Kifer was driving a green Chevrolet on Christ Road in Evansville when he struck and killed jogger Barbara Mazick. Kifer left the scene of the accident and did not report the incident to police. A motorist ultimately discovered Mazick’s body, and Evansville police immediately began investigating her death.

Following the accident, Kifer drove to his brother’s home in Carmi, Illinois. He told his brother that he had run over a woman in Evansville earlier that morning......Having failed to uncover any credible information concerning Mazick’s death, the police suspended their investigation approximately two years after the accident. The police reopened the investigation in 1994 when Robin Johnson claimed to have information linking Kifer to the accident.....

After subsequent investigation by police, the State charged Kifer on September 8, 1999, with failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death, a Class D felony. Kifer moved to dismiss the charge and argued that the State’s prosecution was barred by the five-year statute of limitations for a Class D felony. The trial court denied his motion, determining that Kifer’s concealment of evidence relating to the crime had tolled the statute of limitations. Following a bench trial, the court found Kifer guilty as charged. This appeal ensued........

We are constrained to hold that the State’s prosecution of Kifer nearly twelve years after the commission of the offense is barred as untimely and that the trial court erred when it denied Kifer’s motion to dismiss. His conviction for failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death must be reversed.

Hit-and-run victim's family angry that case is closed - Connecticut

(Hartford-AP, Aug. 11, 2003 10:15 AM) _ The family of a Hartford man killed in a hit-and-run accident six years ago is outraged that police can't arrest the person who confessed to the crime.

That's because the statute of limitations has passed on the vehicular homicide.

Teodoro Alers-Perez was struck and killed on Park Street on October of 1997.

Last week, Hartford police told his family that a woman had confessed that a friend driving her car had hit Alers-Perez.

Police said the woman's friend, Cruz Vazquez, admitted during questioning that he hit and dragged a pedestrian that night on the way back from a bar.

The family says they want to see justice done, and is considering a civil lawsuit. Family members say they will also urge lawmakers to change the statute of limitations.

© Copyright 2000 - 2005 WTNH, and Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Nearly every state in the United States has a statue of limitations on the prosecution of a hit and run driver. In some states it is as low as 3 years. After this period, the hit and run driver could openly brag about being a killer, and the police could do nothing about it.

Hit and Run Accidents