Yes, it was raining and the visibility was not so good for this taxi driver, who was apparently in a hurry. But that doesn’t give him the right to blatantly hit a pedestrian and then drive away as if he ran over a bundle of clothes. Preferring to put this whole pedestrian hit-and-run behind him, and to continue on with his typical evening, this taxi driver acted as if he would get away without any repercussions.
Luckily, karma prevailed and a surveillance camera that was mounted inside the taxicab displayed the real truth of a pedestrian death on this October 2010 evening.
San Yu Chin, the taxi cab driver, was charged with misdemeanor vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident, which is a felony. Both prosecutors and the defense agree that the case hinges on whether this taxi driver knew he hit someone.
I saw the video and I hope anyone reading this post will also click the link above to view it. How could the taxi driver in the accident not know that he hit someone? He ran a red light while a man was crossing the road. Despite the rain, the sound of the impact along with the broken windshield caused by the crash was certainly enough to startle anyone in the car, even if the driver himself was inattentive at the wheel before the impact.19-year-old Alberto Rodriguez was clearly run over like he was a prize in a video game.
Apparently, Chin’s story is that he was unsure about what happened and only learned about it from the victim’s friends who climbed into the car one-half mile down the road to tell him. Chin believed he had the right of way.
Regardless of who has the right of way, the rule is that when someone is harmed, the driver must stop at the scene. It is illegal not to stop at the scene of an accident, not to mention unconscionable. The only fact in Chin’s favor is that the pedestrian was wearing dark clothing on this rainy night and crossed the road, it seemed, under dangerous circumstances.
If convicted, Chin faces a year in jail on vehicular manslaughter and up to four years for leaving the scene of an accident.
As an attorney, I am particularly appalled at hit-and-run pedestrian accidents. Even though this pedestrian accident may have been harder to prevent due to bad weather, the death might have been prevented with better care taken to driving under poor weather conditions or if the taxi driver called for help right away. Perhaps the driver was not trained for night driving or needed to have his vision corrected, but didn’t. Distracted driving may have been a huge factor here too. We can only guess this far down the road. In keeping with the theme of my earlier posts, I am happy that the prosecution in this case is pursuing charges. Mr. Chin is innocent until proven guilty. I am, of course, open to learn the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and won’t rush to judgment, but those drivers who value human life so little as to leave an injured person on a dark and stormy street have some serious accountability to face.