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Posted: 3/30/2006 10:07:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2006 12:21:38 PM EDT by dablues]
I have a question. Not a cop bashing thread, so don't even start with the "How's the dog?" or other JBT quips.

Let me set the scene:

Week or so back, a friend had his car parked at the side of the street near a local restaurant. Another vehicle, (impaired driver? drunk? distracted? ) smashes into the back of his Subaru and crushes it all the way to the back seat. Driver of the other vehicle, a stocky young black man, jumps out of his now bashed-in Mazda, in front of a half dozen on-lookers, walks around the accident scene, yells "What the fuck??", jumps back in his car, now streaming vital fluids, and drives off.

Unfortunately for him, he left his front license plate embedded in the rear of the Subaru.

So, St Louis city cops know who he is. He lives in a suburb outside the city in St. Charles. But St Louis police say, "We can't go arrest him, all we can do is wait for him to get pulled over in the city."

St. Charles police apparently don't plan to go by and speak with him either.

Friend had recently downgraded his insurance to liability-only, so his insurance company won't help.

He went downtown to St Louis headquarters where he discussed the situation and that's when he learned that the police had no plans to arrest the Mazda driver. Duty officer said "You're eff'd! You need to start shopping for a new car."

The longer this goes, the better the alibi the Mazda owner can spin -- "That must have been my cousin...Oh that car got stolen and I just never got around to reporting it...It wasn't me..."

My read of Missouri statute is leaving the scene where damage is more than $1000 dollars is a class D felony.

Again, do not turn this into cop bashing thread and get this locked.

What obligation do the police have? Just file a report? Go after the Mazda driver? Just hope he gets pulled over?

What options does my buddy have? He was all fired up for some rough&ready justice and I wouldn't blame him, but *he* could be the one ending up in trouble.

In the meantime, he's going to lawyer-up and have a firmly worded writ delivered by registered mail in hopes of getting some kind of settlement/garnishment moving.

ETA, I don't have the details of license #, may take a couple days. My connecton to this is loaning him the spare car as he sure can't afford $50 a day for a rental...especially with no real hopes of getting reimbursed. Thanks for the input, it sounds like the wheels of justice may be rolling, but it's just going to take some time.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 11:18:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2006 11:18:48 AM EDT by highdraglowspeed]
I get calls to go grab guys for neighboring jurisdictions all the time. I don't get it.

Your friend is doing the right thing by getting a lawyer. He may be lucky and find that the other car had insurance. Common ploy is to report the car stolen. I love those.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 11:31:43 AM EDT
If they've got eye witnesses that can identify the driver they could, and should IMO prosecute him. If no witnesses can ID him you probably are screwed as far as prosecution. I'd sue the piss out of the owner of the vehicle and his insurance company though.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 11:40:08 AM EDT
are you sure they are not fileing a case report and waiting on a warrant to arrest him?That would explain your statement they are waiting for him to be pulled over in their city to serve their own warrant.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 11:52:37 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 12:00:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By colt_5_5_6:
are you sure they are not fileing a case report and waiting on a warrant to arrest him?That would explain your statement they are waiting for him to be pulled over in their city to serve their own warrant.




+1

I'm a MO officer and that's what we do all the time. But then we go arrest people on other warrants all the time.

What I think the officer at the station meant was that the driver probably fled the scene because he didn't have insurance and probably had a suspended/revoked license.

It is a felony by the way.

IM me the license plate and I'll see what I can find out for you.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 12:41:45 PM EDT
The first step is to indeed,make the accident report,always make the report. The next step is to contact the insurance company,but since your friend chose not to have full coverage he wont get much help from them. Getting a lawyer in this case is a good idea, your friend should get eyewitness statements,shop keepers who are always there are his best option here, they may even have video of the accident on security camera's which would place the goof at the scene. Your friend also has the front plate of the goofs car which shouild have been inventoried by the police,the lawyer can always get coppies of all reports and evidence to take to trial. I think a civil suite is your friends best bet, but remember you can't bleed a rock, if the guy has nothing to give your friend might just end up with a heafty lawyers fee. Moral of the story, it sucks paying for it but full coverage is the only way to go.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 6:47:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dablues:

What obligation do the police have?



Absolutely no responsibility to protect private citizens, whatsoever, as has been decided and upheld in several major court cases across the US.

Best of luck to your friend.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 8:45:18 PM EDT
I know here, the other PD would have gone right over to his place and arrested him, ecspecially with a license plate and positive identification.

I would be pissed, that is F-ed up. I have never heard of such a thing.

I would start sueing now!
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 5:55:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/3/2006 5:36:01 AM EDT by dablues]

remember you can't bleed a rock


Thanks for all the input. Hopefully this is not the final outcome! I believe the wheels of justice are turning, just not as fast as everybody'd like. Been watching too much TV....


ETA: 3Apr2006 lawyered up and waiting for the next step.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:35:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LEO916:
I know here, the other PD would have gone right over to his place and arrested him, ecspecially with a license plate and positive identification.



For what section would the registered owner of the vehicle be arrested by the officer? Felony or misdemeanor?

Given the initial scenario, in CA I would have a misdemeanor hit & run not committed in my presence. If the driver is positively ID'd by witnesses, as in "In-field" show up, I would need a Citizens Arrest. If the positively ID'd driver was exhibiting signs of intoxication/DUI, then I could arrest w/o a Citizens Arrest. Without the citizens arrest or DUI, I'd be sending a report to the DA for charges.

Brian
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 5:40:00 PM EDT
First there are 2 issues, violation of traffic/criminal law, and reouping the damages.

If the police dilligently investigate the crash, ID a driver, and issued citations, or criminal charges, aside from ID'ing the driver, it is of really no help in recouping the cost of the damages.

2nd is recouping the damages. "Was stolen, never reported" is a weak half of an excuse. If he has insurance on the vehicle he needs to provide the insurance carrier's name. I suspect though it will be a trip to Small Claims Court, and be prepared to say how much damage there was, repair estimates or blue book value, along with evidence of the damage. As well as how you know who the suspect driver, or vehicle owner was. In some circumstances the owner of the vehicle can be liable for damages caused by their vehicle if they refuse or are unable to produce the actual driver of the vehicle.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 9:15:57 AM EDT
Sounds like an easy arrest. Who doesn't love an easy arrest? They have to do the accident paper anyway, so if they had a good address, 50/50 at best, and didn't have priority calls stacked up, (who knows?) then they would have most likely gone looking. If the suspect's registered address (if the car even belonged to him) is current and it wasn't 30 miles away, then I would have tried to pick him up.

Link Posted: 4/1/2006 3:16:25 PM EDT
bigern,
Does WA law allow you to arrest the driver w/o a citizens arrest if he's not drunk?

Brian
Link Posted: 4/2/2006 7:01:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lokt:

Originally Posted By dablues:

What obligation do the police have?



Absolutely no responsibility to protect private citizens, whatsoever, as has been decided and upheld in several major court cases across the US.

Best of luck to your friend.

Your from where my friend? Best luck 2U also, but it seems you've entered the large grey area between black and white here. eeerr...your friend I mean. Set'em up....watch his routine then,...eeer...do the right thing, call the coppers on himhehehehe U want something done right do it yourself ever come to mind here?
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