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Hit And Run Driver Goes Free?


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#1 TimSterling1981

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 01:39 AM

I live in Pittsburgh, PA.

About a month ago, I was hit by a drunk driver who then tried to flee the scene.  However, I am a Marine of 4 years, and I don't let people get away with things that easily, so I gave chase about 3 blocks to a dead end street, where I was able to obtain a license plate to give to the 911 dispatcher who was on the phone the entire time.  The driver then found a way to cram his car between two houses and escape down a side alley.

The plate came back to the president of the school district in a nearby city.  It ended up being her daughter's boyfriend who was the driver.  Her insurance company did an investigation and accepted the claim, and agreed to pay for all damages to my vehicle as well as provide a free rental car...HOWEVER, I am not satisfied here.

I have contacted the police department handling this case several times, to which I am continually told there is "no movement."  Well, there HAD to be movement for her insurance company to accept the case, which leads me to believe that due to the high local political status of the registered owner (being the president of the school district), the police swept it under the rug.  I am beyond infuriated and livid.

I have called several lawyers as well as lawyer referral services, because I want to press full charges against the driver of the vehicle, the vehicle owner (for her negligence in allowing an uninsured person to drive under the influence and recklessly), and I want to also press charges against the police department for their failure to handle this case properly.

The lawyers I was able to get free assistance from all basically told me I'm up #### creek without a paddle (pardon my layman's term).  Please tell me this is not the case...because if I don't get some kind of legal assistance in obtaining justice, then I will go out and get my OWN justice.


#2 pg1067

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 03:06 AM

TimSterling1981 said...

. . . I gave chase about 3 blocks to a dead end street. . . .

And, as a Marine, you assiduously observed all traffic laws while doing this, right?


TimSterling1981 said...

I have contacted the police department handling this case several times, to which I am continually told there is "no movement."  Well, there HAD to be movement for her insurance company to accept the case

Not sure where you get this idea.  An insurance claim is a civil matter arising out of a contractual relationship between an insured and an insurer.  The making and acceptance of an insurance claim has little, if anything, to do with whether there is any criminal prosecution arising out of the incident.


TimSterling1981 said...

I want to press full charges against the driver of the vehicle, the vehicle owner (for her negligence in allowing an uninsured person to drive under the influence and recklessly), and I want to also press charges against the police department for their failure to handle this case properly.


"Press charges" typically means to file criminal charges.  Since you are not an Allegheny County District Attorney, you have no ability to file criminal charges against anyone.  You're free to file a civil lawsuit against the driver, but there would be no point in doing so since the insurer has agreed to cover the damages to your car.  And, of course, since the insurer agreed to cover the damages, the owner obviously did not allow an uninsured driver to drive the car (typically, an auto liability policy will define "insured" to include anyone driving a covered car with the owner's permission).  Do you seriously believe that the owner of the car gave this kid permission to drive under the influence?  Finally, you cannot sue (or press charges against) the police because you don't like how they're handling the matter.  You're not a party to any criminal investigation and would not be a party to any criminal prosecution.  As such, you would have nothing to gain by this person being prosecuted.  If you think there is undue political influence being exercised here, you're free to talk with local news media to see if anyone might be interested in running a story.


TimSterling1981 said...

The lawyers I was able to get free assistance from all basically told me I'm up #### creek without a paddle (pardon my layman's term).  Please tell me this is not the case...because if I don't get some kind of legal assistance in obtaining justice, then I will go out and get my OWN justice.


I suggest you speak with your commanding officer and a criminal defense attorney before doing anything moronic and throwing your career and your life away.  You're going to get "justice" by having your damages covered by the insurer.  Your suggestiong that you might "go out and get [your] OWN justice" would be deeply offensive to most Marines.



#3 TimSterling1981

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 03:20 AM

First of all, you could have answered without being so condescending in your attitude, oh high-and-mighty one.

Second, what part of three blocks did you not understand?  I watched him blow two stop signs and slam on his breaks at the dead end before I even started to follow him.  And before you ask, yes, I stopped at both of them.

Now I would like to address your quote:  "I
suggest you speak with your commanding officer and a criminal defense
attorney before doing anything moronic and throwing your career and your
life away.  You're going to get "justice" by having your damages
covered by the insurer.  Your suggestiong that you might "go out and get
[your] OWN justice" would be deeply offensive to most Marines."

Seeing as how I was discharged in 2005 (honorably, I might add), I have no commanding officer.  When I said get my own justice, I meant go to the media (which I have, and they are writing up this story as we speak).  And if you knew ANYTHING about Marines (especially us infantry guys), you would know that not only would my "get my OWN justice" statement NOT be offensive, but it would be supported!

But us veterans get spit on, stepped on, walked on, mistreated every single day, so I wouldn't expect anything less from our pathetic government.

Or people like you, for that matter.



#4 pg1067

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 03:33 AM

TimSterling1981 said...


Seeing as how I was discharged in 2005 (honorably, I might add), I have no commanding officer.



Then you should refer to yourself as a former Marine (rather than saying "I am a Marine").


TimSterling1981 said...


And if you knew ANYTHING about Marines (especially us infantry guys), you would know that not only would my "get my OWN justice" statement NOT be offensive, but it would be supported!



Not according to the current USMC Master Sergeant (a dear family friend) to whom I mentioned your comment via e-mail before responding.


TimSterling1981 said...


But us veterans get spit on, stepped on, walked on, mistreated every single day, so I wouldn't expect anything less from our pathetic government.


Or people like you, for that matter.



This has nothing to do with your status as a veteran.  And don't make ignorant assumptions about what sort of person I am.



#5 TimSterling1981

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 05:51 AM

Then you should refer to yourself as a former Marine (rather than saying "I am a Marine").

FORMER Marine?  I think not...  "Once a Marine, always a Marine."  No Marine in their right mind refers to themselves as "former" unless they were dishonorably discharged.  Don't talk about things you don't know; I don't care what your family friends say...if you don't know about it yourself, close your mouth.

Not according to the current USMC Master Sergeant (a dear family friend) to whom I mentioned your comment via e-mail before responding.

Once again--INFANTRY MARINES WOULD DIFFER!  I don't expect a pog MSgt to understand grunt life...hell, my MSgt ("Gramps," as we called him) barely got off his ass and did one single battalion PT run the entire 3 years he was with our unit, let alone any actual field ops!  If he was a 1stSgt instead, someone who actually decided to go infantry and not just sit behind a desk, you might get a different answer from him, but I don't expect him to know anything about the hard life of a grunt from his cushy chair in his office and his USMC coffee mug w/the MSgt rank on the side.  A MSgt, to a grunt, is a guy who sits at his desk and bitches about a week long field op that he didn't spend one minute in, for fear of maybe getting that precious three-stripes up/three-stripes down/cross rifles in the center coffee mug stolen from their desk.

This has nothing to do with your status as a veteran.  And don't make ignorant assumptions about what sort of person I am.


I don't have to make assumptions...you do just fine making yourself look like a stuck-up piece of garbage yourself.  Forget I even bothered asking; if I would have known I was gonna get some holier-than-thou absolute piece of garbage belittling me in return, I woulda just popped off a few rounds in the driver and called it a day.  You, sir, are as worthless as a DD214 to a guy on Stop Loss.  But I bet you'll have to have your family friend the MSgt explain that one to you, too.


#6 pg1067

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 06:09 AM

Look buddy.  Do whatever you want to do.  Fortunately, I know enough to know that your sort of garbage is not typical of what the USMC produces.

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#8 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 09:40 AM

TimSterling1981 said...

I have called several lawyers as well as lawyer referral services, because I want to press full charges against the driver of the vehicle, the vehicle owner (for her negligence in allowing an uninsured person to drive under the influence and recklessly),

If by "press charges" you mean that you want criminal charges filed against these people, then understand that realistically you can't do that. Only the DA for the city/county where this act occurred may do that. You may contact the DA's office and present the evidence you have and it will be up to the DA to decide what to do. Furthermore, there is no crime committed by the owner of the car here. Simple negligence is not a crime, it is a tort entitling you to money damages—and the owner's insurance is paying for that. Note, too, it is the car owner that must have the insurance, not the driver.

TimSterling1981 said...

and I want to also press charges against the police department for their failure to handle this case properly.

It is also not a crime for the police not to "handle this case properly." The police don't owe you any individual duty to arrest the driver nor does the DA owe you any duty to prosecute him. If the police or prosecutor aren't doing their jobs satisfactorily, that's a political problem, not a legal one. Your ultimate remedy for that is at the ballot box.

TimSterling1981 said...

Well, there HAD to be movement for her insurance company to accept the case, which leads me to believe that due to the high local political status of the registered owner (being the president of the school district), the police swept it under the rug.

This is one of the key things you need to understand: the car owner's/driver's civil liability and any criminal charges are two very different things. The insurance company is paying because the license plate you recovered helps to pretty clearly establish that someone driver its insured's car caused the accident and ran, and thus it's likely you could prove the civil liability. In this case, it really didn't matter who was driving it so long as it was with the consent of the owner.

However, in order to convict on a crime, the prosecutor must be able to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, a higher standard than that which applies in civil cases. Here, it does matter who was driving and you've not said what evidence you have that proves who the driver was. The license plate alone certainly wouldn't be enough to identify the boyfriend sufficiently to charge him with a crime. Depending on what the evidence is here, the prosecutor might properly conclude his/her chances of convincing a jury that the driver was guilty is not very good and thus decline to prosecute. The law gives the DA that discretion since prosecution resources are limited and the prosecutor has to make choices of what to go after and what to let go.

Given that, I'd not leap to the conclusion that political influence was the reason for failure to pursue this. It may just be not a very good case to pursue. In any event, it is up to the prosecutor to decide what to do, not you.

TimSterling1981 said...

Please tell me this is not the case...because if I don't get some kind of legal assistance in obtaining justice, then I will go out and get my OWN justice.

Unless you want to be an ex-marine doing time in a PA jail or prison, you won't go the vigilante route here. You won't get the satisfaction you want and you can screw up your life.

As a "marine of 4 years," I'd hope by now you know that not everything in life is fair, not all goes the way you want it to go, and sometimes you just have to let things go. If you can't get the DA interested in charges, you'll do best to just let this go. The insurance is paying your damages; you can't pursue anything else on your own.



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