Hit and run accidents continue to happen with alarming frequency in South Florida. The latest of these incidents happened in Hialeah early Wednesday when an 2002 GMC Envoy SUV sideswiped a smaller Toyota Scion with three people onboard heading South on Okeechobee Road near the Florida Turnpike extension, according to the miamiherald.com.
The driver of the Toyota lost control of the vehicle and plunged into a nearby canal, where the car sunk into 22 feet of water. Apparently, all three occupants of the Toyota managed to make it to the surface, but one of them, later identified as Gilberto Duenas, became fatigued and drowned. Subsequently police found the SUV about a quarter of a mile away, abandoned because it was too damaged to be driven and with paint marks that matched the victim's Toyota. Police is currently looking for the registered owner of the SUV. The SUV is noted as being from Naples, Florida.
An Accident May Not Be A Crime, Running From One Is
People tend to panic when they find themselves involved in an accident. As terrifying an experience as it is, an accident is just an accident. In other words, those involved had no intention to provoke it. Also, an accident can happen to anyone.
However, once a party to an accident decides to run away from the scene, these actions can make it a crime. Under Florida Statute No. 316.027, "The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property that results in injury of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash..." Failure to stop and/or remain at the scene is a felony in Florida.
And while an accident can happen to anyone, a felony doesn't: felonies happen to people whose moral turpitude and selfishness makes them believe they are impervious to justice...We have seen responsible (until then) parents, law abiding community members, decide one day to go for a couple of drinks after work and subsequently get into an accident on their way home. Suddenly realizing that they may have had one too many drinks and the gravity of their predicament, these until-then responsible people suddenly forget their legal duty to stop, as well as their duty as human beings to assist their victims.
Besides the moral implications, to hope to get away with it in this day and age is ludicrous. Crime scene investigators have the tools and technology necessary to provide detectives with very accurate information that enables them to catch up with the offender sooner rather than later, specially when someone has lost his or her life as a consequence of the hit and run.
Runners Often Turned In By Witnesses
Additionally, hit and run felons may likely be turned in by witnesses at the scene. Such was the recent case of a Tamarac driver who ran after causing an accident, only to be turned in by an 11 year old boy who wrote down his tag number, according to cbslocal.com.
We Can Help
At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, our attorneys have more than 60 years of combined experience helping victims of accidents. If you or a loved one have been the victims of a hit and run accident, please contact the lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano and we will be happy to help you obtain the compensation you may be entitled to. The Miami Dade County Car Accidents Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have throughout the years represented many clients involved in car accidents. Please note that our practice has been extended with a new satellite office in Aventura to better serve clients that reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Dania & Dania Beach, Miramar, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Miami Beach, Surfside, Sunny Isles and Miami Gardens. Visit our website to learn more about us and contact us today for a free consultation.