Frank Gallegos was struck by a car as he crossed a street at 28th and Wall Avenue in Ogden, Utah early around 6 in the morning, December 16, 2010. According to KSL News, the motorist, after he hit Gallegos, kept going. The impact happened only feet from the Ogden Rescue Mission. It was only yesterday, that the man turned himself in. The man, a 23 year old from Riverdale, Utah, called the police and told him he had been involved in the pedestrian accident. He later went down to the station with his vehicle, a 2000 Ford F-150, for investigators to look at. He was later released.
I send my condolences to the family of Frank Gallegos for this sad loss. I understand that Mr. Gallego was homeless and alcohol abuse issues. The man still deserves a proper funeral and I hope his family can be contacted so a proper funeral can be arranged.
The article doesn’t say much about the circumstances surrounding this crash, but leaving the scene of a fatal pedestrian collision doesn’t bode well for the motorist. In fact, there is an inference that the motorist may have been impaired in some way and wanted to evade prosecution. Sadly, Utah law in a civil context, generally doesn’t allow evidence of leaving the scene to prove a driver’s negligence or recklessness. This is so, argues at least one Utah judge who has ruled on this issue, because leaving the scene could be evidence of fear or distress following a purely innocent pedestrian run-over, not evidence of negligence.
So the end result can be that a motorist who may be over the legal limit, can avoid a DUI charge and a potentially larger civil judgment against him (or her) by simply leaving the scene. Of course, they will be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, but that charge pales in comparison to a possible DUI/homicide charge.
I would recommend that the family of Mr. Gallegos contact an experienced Utah accident and injury attorney to investigate this claim further and explore what remedies may be available in this case.
Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.