In large cities like San Francisco and Oakland, there are some crimes that too often go unsolved due to lack of law enforcement resources. A good example is hit-and-run accidents. Although unsolved hit-and-runs are not nearly as much of problem here as they are in cities like Los Angeles, they are nonetheless a serious problem.
In order to make sure that a driver faces criminal charges and civil liability, the first crucial, step is to correctly identify the person who struck a pedestrian with their car and sped off. Without police help, this is sometimes impossible.
But there are some pedestrians and bicyclists who take the investigation into their own hands. In a Georgia community, for instance, a 39-year-old bicyclist was recently able to track down the car and driver who struck him after police told him that solving the case would likely be difficult.
Thankfully, the bicyclist remembered seeing the car coming out the lot of an apartment complex near the accident scene. He also remembered that it was a silver Volkswagen. The day after the accident, he went looking for the car in that lot but didn’t think he would find anything. As it turns out, he immediately found a car matching his search criteria.
He knew it was the car that hit him because the grill still had a piece of his broken bike pedal stuck in it. The driver who owned the car was a 20-year-old woman who later admitted to police that she drove off because she was frightened.
To be clear, taking the law into your own hands can be dangerous and is generally not a good idea. But in this case, the bicyclist found he could not wait for overburdened law enforcement officers to look into it. He now has the option to pursue a personal injury lawsuit if he wants to.
Source: Florida Today, “Hit-and-run victim investigates, solves own crime,” Kevin Rowson, July 16, 2014