Los Angeles has a reputation for many things, including celebrities and entertainment culture. Unfortunately, the city also has a reputation for hit-and-run crashes; and the problem only seems to be getting worse.

Hit-and-run accidents are especially injurious and fatal to three types of travelers: pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Earlier this month, a teenager in South Los Angeles was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver as he crossed the street in a marked crosswalk.

According to news sources, the 16-year-old was struck just before 8:30 p.m. one evening as he was leaving his church youth group. The cowardly driver who struck him then fled the scene.

The intersection itself may have been a factor in the crash. Church officials have long been concerned about safety hazards in the intersection. The pastor at the church told reporters: “We’ve been urging authorities to have something like signs or lights, especially at night, to prevent something like this.” He added: “One of our kids was ready to go to college with dreams, and his family is destroyed right now.”

Hopefully, the at-fault driver will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Car accidents are sometimes understandable mistakes or are simply unavoidable. But as soon as drivers flee the scene in order to avoid responsibility, the accident becomes a crime. In cases like this one, families often file wrongful death lawsuits against hit-and-run drivers in addition to criminal charges.

Traffic is bad enough in Los Angeles as it is. For this and many other reasons, we need to send a message to as many hit-and-run drivers as possible. That message is: you will be caught, you will be prosecuted and you will be sued.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, “Teen Leaving Church Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver,” Christina Cocca, Sept. 15, 2013