Recently, police in Oceanside arrested a man in connection with the hit-and-run accident that left a young bicyclist dead. The bicyclist's body was found by the side of North River Road early in the morning of September 21 last year. Investigators said he had been struck by a car and his body had been left on the ground for hours before it was discovered.
Police arrested a 23-year-old man who is a medical assistant with the U.S. Navy at Camp Pendleton. He has been charged with felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter.
After the arrest, the victim's parents spoke to the news media for the first time since their son's death. They said that they heard the news of their son's death as they were just beginning a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Italy.
Police said that the man charged in the accident originally said that he had driven while drunk and thought he had hit a light pole. Investigators cast doubt on his version of events. They said that evidence clearly showed that his car had hit a human being, and that the body appeared to have been moved after the collision, suggesting that the man had tried to cover up his crime.
The victim's parents have said that after almost a year of wondering whether the police would arrest anyone, they are glad that the criminal justice system appears to be holding the defendant accountable for his actions. However, the emotional trauma and financial toll they will face from the accident will likely continue for years to come.
When one person is killed through the negligence of another, California allows the victim's family members to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. These actions can help compensate family members for loss of income and other damages they have suffered through losing their loved one.
These cases can be emotionally and technically difficult, but they can be very important to the financial well-being of a grieving family, and they can help hold a careless individual accountable even when the criminal justice system does not.
Source: NBC San Diego, "Hit-and-Run Victim's Parents Speak for First Time," Dave Summers, Aug. 17, 2015