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Pedestrian accidents often hinge on identification issues

Where a hit-and-run accident in New York City involves death or serious injury, the driver who leaves the scene is usually apprehended by the authorities. This may be due to the perpetrator's change of heart and voluntary surrender or it may be the result of official hit-and-run investigations, including those pertaining to pedestrian accidents. In fact, many hit-and-run incidents involve the striking of a pedestrian.

Recently in New York City, a hit-and-run driver knocked down and killed a popular disc jockey as he was crossing the street at Jamaica Avenue at Scheffield Avenue in Brooklyn. The victim was Jean Paul Guerrero, who was known as DJ Jinx Paul. He had a show on La Mega 97.9.  Witnesses described particularly egregious circumstances in which the driver stopped the car and got out, observed what had happened and then quickly got back in the car and drove away.

A 27-year-old male voluntarily surrendered to police four days after the Dec.19 accident. He claimed responsibility, but in a rare development in such cases, the district attorney refused to prosecute, citing a lack of evidence. It is not the norm for the prosecutor to hold up on a case where there is a confession.

The status is that the district attorney wants to first question the three women described as persons of interest. They were seen in the vehicle by surveillance cameras. It is a critical piece of the investigation because at least one witness described the operator as a woman. This begs the question whether the man who attempted to confess was trying to protect the actual person who was operating the hit-and-run vehicle.

It appears that the New York City authorities may be getting close to making that kind of a determination. The issue of identification is generally the most crucial issue to be faced in hit-and-run investigations, including those dealing with pedestrian accidents. It becomes a critical issue in tort law also due to the need to make a claim against the correct operator. The estate of the victim is entitled to make a wrongful death claim for damages against the operator, and it is likely that the police are close to unraveling the identity of that person. 

Source: CBS New York, "NYPD: 3 Women Sought In Hit-And-Run Death Of Popular NYC DJ", Dec. 29, 2016