A Sunnyvale, California, man who was severely injured in a hit-and-run crash last week has died, which will likely raise the charges against the San Jose man accused of striking him with his car. The pedestrian accident was the first of two hit-and-run car accidents involving the driver, who later contacted police to say he was the man they were looking for.
The first crash happened as a 59-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman were crossing a street in a crosswalk Saturday afternoon. According to witnesses and evidence, a car traveling south veered into the northbound lanes and struck both pedestrians, dragging the woman for a short distance before she fell on his car. A Sunnyvale police captain said the driver took off, and police were alerted to keep an eye out for him.
Less than an hour later, a wrong-way driver was reported to have caused another accident in nearby Los Altos. One person suffered minor injuries and the driver fled on foot because his car was disabled in the crash. But about five minutes later the driver called to confess and gave police his location. Sunnyvale officers eventually took him into custody on two counts of attempted homicide and four counts of battery on a police officer.
It's not clear why he was charged with battery or what prompted him to contact police and confess to the crashes. There was no indication that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, though investigators are now looking into his medical history. Regardless of whether he suffers from mental illness or simply had a change of heart, the family of the man who died in the first accident is suffering from their own loss, and the other pedestrian suffered critical injuries. Both may be looking for some form of compensation for their suffering, in addition to medical, funeral and burial costs. It would not be surprising if they filed civil lawsuits for personal injury and wrongful death, apart from the criminal charges the driver now faces.
Source: Mercury News, "Sunnyvale man dies two days after hit-and-run," Mark Gomez and Lisa Fernandez, April 2, 2012