Q. for lawyers, judges, police and others of that ilk

It’s a run of the mill news story, really. It’s a drama that plays itself out on the urban concrete stage all the time, especially in my neck of the woods.

The stage can be any of the countless streets, wide and narrow, which grid every city and town throughout the land.

Stage left…a group of adults, children, a group of unthinking pedestrians who assume automatic safety and fantastical immunity to injury merely by the fact they are on foot.

Stage right…the perp, the driver, the person controlling a rapidly travelling mass of ton-sized iron and plastic and glass and flammable fluids…

Scene 1, the only one which really counts…the actors entering through stage left appear headed blindly for a horrific crunch, an intersection of paths, with the actor entering from stage right who speeds wildly on to the stage unaware of the impending targets, and suddenly, shriekingly,

the moment of impact. The metallic beast, unfazed by the weak barrier of bones and tendons and tissue and hair it has just catapulted into the air, continues speeding off into the darkness of stage left. And it never stops, despite the fact that the carnage it has left behind continues in all its ferocious horror throughout the night and stretches senselessly in the future for all time.

So this morning I was not surprised to read another re-enactment of a scene as old as cars themselves which happened here in L.A. last night. It happened in the 500 bock of South Lorena Street in the Boyle Heights section of East L.A. about 9:00 p.m. According to this news story on KTLA.com, 3 women were walking when they were struck by a light blue 1993 Chrysler Concord. Two of the women were critically injured, and one, Guadalupe Colmenares, 19, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Witnesses took down the license plate and, along with all the excellent vehicle description, they traced the car owner to someone by the name of Carol Vega, who police have incidentally been unable to find yet.

On to my question for the judicial experts…

Hit and run felony is a serious crime, this goes without saying. But doesn’t it seem that if you’re facing the prospect of vehicular manslaughter you’re better off hiding out and hoping you aren’t caught, and even if you are, you have had time to formulate a good excuse/story/alibi which you can cough up when the law tracks you down?

I would venture to say that hit and run violators (especially when fatalities are involved) run for these reasons:

-they were under the influence
-they were driving with a suspended license
-they had no auto insurance
-the car was stolen
-they panicked and fled
-they honestly had no idea they hit someone

I am venturing to say that the first 2 reasons probably account for about 80% of all hit and runs in East L.A. Just the nature of the beast. May not be PC to say that without factual back up but I don’t need no stinkin’ back up…I can state with anecdotal certainty, having grown up and lived here all my life, that this is fact.

How can we possibly create a truly functional and strong deterrent to hit and run when the repercussions of sticking around seem intrinsically more harmful to your rap sheet and freedom than just getting the hell outta there?