Law enforcement officers were busy last week trying to track down a hit-and-run driver who fled from both civilians and police. According to authorities, the driver first collided with a vehicle in Wapato shortly after 3:30 p.m. The driver whose vehicle was struck then began a pursuit of the car that struck him. The chase took the vehicles west on I-82. Eventually, the suspect crashed his vehicle into a stop sign at the Thorp Road exit of Interstate 82, just south of Union Gap, according to the Washington State Patrol.
At this point, the driver exited the vehicle and took off running. The man chose to try and elude authorities by jumping into the Yakima River in the Parker area. Documents confirming his identity were found in the vehicle and a warrant was issued.
If this story sounds like something that happens only in the movies and would not likely happen to you, think again. Scenarios such as this one happen all the time, all across the country. From the congested streets of New York City, to the relative peace of Yakima, hit-and-run accidents happen all the time. What should you do if you are the victim of a Washington hit-and-run accident?
- Move over to the shoulder or somewhere safe where you and your vehicle are not in jeopardy of being hit again.
- Call 911 immediately from your cell phone if possible. DO NOT CHASE THE VEHICLE. Law enforcement authorities strongly warn against doing so, as you may be putting yourself in more danger.
- Try to remember everything that you can about the vehicle and driver that hit you if you are in a position to do so right after the accident. Grab a pen and paper, or your cell phone/computer, and write down the license plate number, the make and model of the vehicle, the sex of the driver, the color of the driver’s hair, any marks on the vehicle–basically anything at all that you can remember.
- Give the identifying information to the police as soon as they get to the accident scene.
- Accept the offer to go to the hospital and have a thorough examination done by a physician and follow-up with any treatment if necessary.
- Contact a personal injury attorney.
Contacting an experienced Yakima personal injury attorney will help you determine what your legal options are after being the victim of a hit-and-run. Your attorney can follow up with law enforcement to find out if the driver of the car has been identified. If the driver and/or the vehicle has been identified, then you can proceed to pursue compensation against him or her. Options may also exist for compensation under your own auto insurance policy.