This entry is intended to collect some crime statistics close to home and crimes against friends and family.
El Cajon PD Open Cases
Bar patron robbed by his new 'friend'
October 16, 2006 EL CAJON – A 21-year-old man found that bar friends aren't necessarily the best friends Friday night.
The man went to a bar on Graves Avenue near Bradley Avenue and struck up a conversation with another man, sheriff's Sgt. Kenn Nelson said. About 8:45 p.m., the two went out to the parking lot, where the new “friend” grabbed the victim by the neck and demanded he give him cash or his car. The 21-year-old handed over his money.
About 45 minutes later, a deputy saw the car the robber had driven from the bar. The driver had the victim's money in his pocket. The man was arrested on suspicion of robbery and battery, Nelson said.
The victim did not seek medical attention.
Tobacco Store Robberies
My sister and nephew share a job at a tobacco store in Franklin, Tennessee. The store has been robbed three times in the time that they have worked there:
- My nephew got the license plate number and description of the getaway car and even observed it in the parking lot nearby. He reported it to the police. The store is in a busy area and the police are usually present. The police showed up some time later to take a report. When asked why they did not approach the robbers parked in their car the cops claimed they were unable to find the blue car; The car had been described by the victim as white or silver.
- A thief entered the store, grabbed up packages of cigarettes and fled without paying. My sister followed him out of the store, noted the license plate of the getaway car and immediately returned to the store. She reported the event to the police by phone and provided the plate number. The cops asked which way the car had gone but she had not observed that. There was no further response from the cops.
- The owner of the shop was working alone. Cigarettes where stolen. He never bothered to make any report to the police.
Shootings and gun fights
Sunday, May 3, 2009 Sunday morning I went over to Albertson's to get some cereal. Heading home I saw people down in the drainage channel along the west bound I-8 and realized there was a SUV in the ditch. Apparently two kids had crashed it and then run away. I called 911, gave the location, my name and number and the tag number of the SUV. CHP showed up after about 10-15 minutes. Just as I left after about 20 minutes six cop cars CHP and ECPD showed up.
From an e-mail February 10, 2006: The apartment complex that Trevor lives in backs up to a shopping center and there is a cut through that people walk through to get back and forth. Trevor was walking through there one evening; I think it was around 7 or 8 when a couple of guys jumped him. Trevor got up and started running, some people in the shopping center saw what was going on so they came over and the 2 guys jumped in their car and took off. Fortunately they didn't take anything from Trevor, but I guess he had a few minor cuts and bruises plus I am sure he was pretty shook up from the ordeal. They didn't get a license plate number and the guys were wearing masks so he wasn't able to get a very good description. I am not sure why the police don't believe him as he would have absolutely nothing to gain by making it up especially since he admitted that they didn't get anything from him. Hopefully it was a one time isolated incident, I think it was just a matter of him being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Monday, August 11, 2008 The helicopter was circling again announcing that there were two robbery suspects on the loose.
Resident helps police capture escaped suspect A suspected car thief who escaped from a California Highway Patrol station after being arrested yesterday was apprehended several hours later with help from an area resident. Dozens of officers from the CHP, Sheriff's Department and El Cajon police searched for Moreno, including a sheriff's helicopter crew. Police also sent out messages to residents describing the fugitive using a reverse 911 system. A resident alerted police about a man who matched Moreno's description at 3:01 p.m. on Tres Lomas near Greenfield Drive. Officers found Moreno hiding in bushes and arrested him again, Pennings said. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080728-9999-1m28pubsafe.html
Sexual assault suspect found dead
Suicide note reveals rapist's sorrow. In the goodbye letter he left for police, Jason Washington talked about losing the three women who meant the most to him: his ex-wife, aunt and mother. The typed, two-page note is dated Feb. 21, the same day he raped a Solana Beach woman. He began by saying, “It was a wonderful life.” He taped it to his dresser and walked away from his home. Washington killed himself Feb. 26, after authorities accused him of raping the 23-year-old Solana Beach woman and trying to rape a 15-year-old girl in Rancho San Diego two days later. The body of the 33-year-old computer technician and former Marine was found in his white 2000 Honda CR-V near his home in El Cajon. He had shot himself in the head. Three photocopies of his suicide note were in the Honda. The details in the note are among the new facts emerging in a case that unnerved residents across San Diego County and sent authorities on a round-the-clock manhunt. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080309-9999-1m9jason.html
SAN DIEGO COUNTY -- A sexual assault suspect wanted for attacks in Solana Beach and La Mesa was found dead in his sport utility vehicle in El Cajon on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
The medical examiner's office Tuesday night identified the dead man as Jason Washington, the 33-year-old El Cajon man accused of attacking two women over the last week, including a jogger who was raped at gunpoint Thursday in Solana Beach, San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Phil Brust said. Authorities have not elaborated on the physical evidence that appears to link Washington to the crimes.
An El Cajon police sergeant was patrolling Naranca Avenue in eastern El Cajon at about 8 a.m. when he spotted the vehicle, which matched the description of Washington's white Honda CRV and carried the same license plate, authorities said.
The sergeant called the Sheriff's Department, which deployed a fugitive task force to the area, Brust said. Task force members discovered the body slumped over in the front seat; the man was subsequently declared dead at the scene, he said.
Washington appeared to have been shot, though an autopsy today will determine the exact cause of death, Brust said.
"Based on the note and the totality of the circumstances ... it looks like he killed himself," he said.
Washington was found dressed in clothes similar to those an attacker was wearing during an attempted assault on a 15-year-old girl in La Mesa on Saturday, the last day Washington was seen, Brust said.
Inside the SUV, investigators also found a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, as well as three copies of a suicide note matching the one found after a SWAT team surrounded Washington's El Cajon home Saturday morning, the lieutenant said. Washington was not home at the time of the SWAT action.
A felony arrest warrant was issued Monday for Washington, who faces charges of felony kidnapping to commit rape and $5 million bail.
Investigators have not linked Washington to an attempted assault that occurred at a Solana Beach apartment complex Saturday night, Brust said.
Pedestrians in the area where the Solana Beach victim was attacked said Tuesday that the incident has made them more apprehensive.
"It makes you do a double take at all males," said Solana Beach resident Candy Tutrow, 53, who frequently walks her dog around San Elijo Lagoon, a few blocks from where the Solana Beach jogger was attacked. "You can't dwell on it too much, because otherwise you start to make adjustments to your lifestyle," she said.
Sexual assaults by strangers are rare, and Brust said perpetrators in those cases are dangerously unpredictable.
"When there are no commonalities at all between a suspect and a victim, that someone for whatever reason is basically spiralling out of control, we don't know what's next," Brust said.
Brust said investigators are also questioning why Washington -- who had only one prior arrest, for drunken driving -- would commit such crimes.
"We're still asking ourselves why he did this. In all outward appearances, he was a good guy," Brust said. "Whatever happened in his life, he left two scarred victims."
Even even though Washington is dead, the sexual assault cases will remain open and investigators will submit evidence into the DNA database "because he may be good for other crimes," said Greg Thompson, director of forensic services for the sheriff's crime lab.
"We would continue to work the case to eliminate the possibility that he's not the guy and put DNA in the database to see if it matches any other (crimes)," Thompson said.
There is a higher expectation that an attacker will be linked to other crimes in instances where the perpetrator does not know the victim, he said.
Hunt ends in suicide of rape suspect
[February 27, 2008] The discovery of the body of rape suspect Jason Washington appears to cap a frightening case that started six days ago. But the circumstances leading to his death are just starting to emerge.
A body matching Wash-ington's description was found yesterday morning in his white 2000 Honda CR-V, parked on Naranca Avenue near Third Street in El Cajon. The man had fatally shot himself, authorities said. The county Medical Examiner's Office later confirmed that the body was that of Washington.
Three photocopies of a suicide note that investigators had found inside Washington's home Sunday were in the Honda, authorities said.
Washington, 33, of El Cajon was wanted in connection with the rape of a 23-year-old Solana Beach woman Thursday and the attempted rape of a 15-year-girl in Rancho San Diego on Saturday.
Cheryl Paz, a former nanny for Washington's daughter, said that Washington had been going to all-night parties known as raves lately and experimenting with Ecstasy, a drug popular in clubs.
Money also might have been a problem for Washington, who authorities said resigned Friday from his job as a computer technician.
But Paz and Cheryl Brown, a real estate agent whom Washington hired in December to list his home, couldn't understand how his life could apparently sour so quickly.
“He seemed to be at the top of his life,” said Paz, 20, of Lakeside, who cared for Wash-ington's 12-year-old daughter from May to December last year.
Brown, who spent hours with Washington, said he was a likable man with a good job and excellent credit.
“I'm absolutely in shock,” Brown said. “It seems to me like he somehow snapped in the last week and threw his life away.”
On Monday, an arrest warrant was issued for Washington on two charges of kidnapping to commit rape. Bail was set at $5 million.
Sheriff's investigators had quickly zeroed in on Washington, a former Marine.
A broadcast on a police radio just after Saturday's attack indicated that the assailant had left behind a handgun. Authorities said several handguns were registered in Washington's name, including one found in his SUV.
An evidence technician also dusted for fingerprints on a parked motor home that the assailant may have left as he leaned against it, appearing to be preparing for a jog before Saturday's attack in Rancho San Diego. Witnesses saw the assailant drive away in a white SUV.
Deputies discovered Washington's body in his SUV about 1½ miles east of his home, sheriff's Lt. Phil Brust said.
“We're relieved, our investigators are relieved and hopefully the public is relieved as well,” Brust said.
Several El Cajon residents gathered yesterday near the cordoned-off SUV that authorities had been searching for.
“I will sleep much better tonight,” said Jennifer Unander, 31, an apartment manager.
Michael Maher, 47, a heavy-equipment operator, has been worried about the safety of his wife and 17-year-old son.
“My wife does a lot of walking and jogging here,” Maher said. “When I heard about this, I told her, 'Don't go out alone anymore because he's in El Cajon.' ”
Washington was selling his home on Sandalwood Drive because his mortgage had an adjustable rate that was ballooning and the home no longer was worth what he owed, said Brown, the real estate agent.
Washington recently received an inheritance after his mother died, Paz said. He used some of the money to buy a silver 2002 BMW 325ci convertible.
But Brown said money was a growing concern for Washington.
Washington, who divorced in 2006, worked for the San Diego office of EDS and ran a consulting business from his home. His work routinely required travel during the week, and he left his daughter with Paz.
Paz said the daughter recently had been living with her mother, a former girlfriend of Washington's, but she did not know where. To Paz, Washington was a regular, hardworking man who never let on that something was troubling him.
“He seemed like a normal person,” she said. “ . . . It's very sad.”
El Cajon PD Sex Crimes
Officer Mark Bevan
El Cajon cop on paid leave while sex-with-minor charge probed
The El Cajon Police Department is investigating allegations that one of its officer had sex with a minor and supplied the girl with alcohol. Officer Mark Bevan has been on paid administrative leave since April, when the girl's mother contacted authorities, said Lt. Steve Shakowski, who oversees the department's Internal Affairs division.
“The mother made an allegation and we have been aggressively investigating it for five weeks.” he said. Bevan has worked for the El Cajon department for eight years, Shakowski said.
A television station reported Sunday that Bevan had initially contacted the girl during a criminal investigation.
William Robert Taylor
Cop gets 5-year term in sex case plea deal
May 22, 2007 EL CAJON – The woman's questions hung over the courtroom yesterday, aimed at the El Cajon police officer convicted of bribery and extorting sexual favors from women he arrested or investigated.
“Why did you do what you did to me?” she asked William Robert Taylor in a letter read by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Charles W. Ervin. “Was it because I was vulnerable?”
Deeming Taylor's actions “reprehensible” and “without honor,” Ervin sentenced Taylor to five years in prison after Taylor, as part of a plea agreement, gave up his quest for a new trial.
The author of the letter was among seven women who testified that Taylor had abused them or made sexually charged comments to them.
Calling Taylor a “despicable human being, nasty and hurtful,” the woman wrote: “Since you did what you did to me, every time I see a police officer I cringe and relive the horrible events you put me through. I will never be able to trust another police officer again.”
Ervin said Taylor picked his victims from among those he considered most vulnerable and least likely to complain.
“These were the very persons he was sworn to protect,” Ervin said.
Taylor, 28, said little in court other than to agree to the prison sentence to resolve the case. He had sought a new trial after one juror said other jurors pressured her to vote for a conviction.
Taylor's lawyer, Alec Rose, said outside the courtroom that Taylor dropped his request for a new trial to avoid prolonging the case for his family.
“His main concern is his wife and children and his friends,” Rose said.
Taylor has two children, ages 1 and 3.
Taylor was convicted March 28 of five charges: petty theft for taking two knives from one woman he arrested, two counts of requesting or taking a bribe, sexual penetration under color of authority and sexual battery.
The jury acquitted Taylor of four charges similar to those on which he was convicted and was unable to reach a verdict on five other charges, including a complaint by a La Mesa woman who said Taylor made her perform a sex act on herself in the back seat of his patrol car while he watched.
Under the agreement worked out between Rose and Deputy District Attorney Robert Kearney in a series of private meetings yesterday, Taylor pleaded guilty to a bribery charge on which the jury was deadlocked and agreed not to appeal the conviction. He also must register as a sex offender.
In exchange, Kearney agreed not to try Taylor on the remaining charges on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Kearney said the plea agreement was fair because “it provides closure for the women who testified so they don't have to testify in another trial.”
Without conceding his client's guilt, Rose said Taylor's conviction showed “if seven people point the finger at you, it's awfully hard to convince a jury that all seven aren't telling the truth.”
Rose said the jury showed by its verdict that it did not believe three of those who filed complaints against Taylor and had questions about the accusations of a fourth.
Two of Taylor's accusers have sued the city, and a third has hired a lawyer who said yesterday that he would file suit on the woman's behalf.
Taylor, an El Cajon police officer for about three years, has been on unpaid leave since his arrest in February 2006.
Ray Huard: (619) 542-4597; email@example.com
Convicted police officer will ask for new trial
April 10, 2007 EL CAJON – An El Cajon police officer will seek a new trial after being convicted of abusing his authority to extort sexual favors from women and soliciting or taking bribes.
The lawyer for William Robert Taylor, Alec Rose, told an El Cajon Superior Court judge yesterday that he will file a motion asking that the jury verdict be overturned.
Rose didn't discuss the grounds on which he would ask for a new trial. Judge Charles W. Ervin scheduled a hearing on the matter for May 11.
On March 29, a jury convicted Taylor of five charges: petty theft for taking two knives from one woman he arrested, two counts of requesting or taking a bribe, sexual penetration under the color of authority, and sexual battery.
The jury acquitted Taylor of four similar counts, including charges that he forced another woman to undress in front of him in her apartment after arresting her on theft and drug charges.
After deliberating for a week, the jury deadlocked on five other charges. Prosecutor Robert Kearney said he will announce at the May hearing whether he will retry Taylor on those charges.
The judge also issued an order yesterday barring Taylor's mother from his courtroom and the third floor of the El Cajon courthouse for what the judge said were “intimidating” outbursts she made toward jurors after the verdicts were read.
Standing at the rear of the courtroom, Taylor's mother yelled, “You stupid idiots” as jurors were leaving. “Some of those jurors were visibly upset,” the judge said.
Taylor, 27, remains on unpaid administrative leave pending the appeal of his conviction, said El Cajon police Lt. Mike Moore. Taylor is being held in jail without bail.
February 3, 2006 A three-year veteran of the El Cajon Police Department was arrested Friday on eight felony counts alleging the officer had solicited sexual favors from women in exchange for their freedom. Officer William Robert Taylor, 26, has been on administrative leave since Dec. 3 after allegations last November of improper sexual conduct with women Taylor had placed in his custody, said Police Chief Cliff Diamond. Since the first allegations surfaced, El Cajon police detectives have identified a total of five victims, the chief said. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who attended the news conference, said her office planned to aggressively prosecute the case. “When an officer dishonors the badge, disgraces the uniform, destroys the trust of the public, we must take swift action,” she said. “Police officers are prosecuted just like any person, but it is even more devastating when an officer uses his authority and his badge to gain favors of any kind, especially sexual favors.” Investigators asked anyone who might have more information about the case to call Sgt. Cameron DeMarco at (619) 579-3321.
Officer Faces Additional Charges In Sexual Assault Case 04-21-2006 4:54 AM (San Diego, CA) -- More charges have been filed against an El Cajon police officer accused of soliciting sexual favors from female detainees in exchange for their freedom. William Taylor now faces a total of eight felony charges of soliciting bribes, two counts of rape with a foreign object, two counts of sexual battery and one count of attempting to influence a witness. If convicted of all charges, Taylor could be sentenced to up to 17 years in prison. Taylor, who is free on one-quarter-million-dollars bail, pleaded not guilty to the six original charges at his arraignment last month. Officials say the investigation included interviews with about 300 women who had been detained by Taylor. Some of the women allegedly said Taylor offered to let them go free in exchange for sexual favors. The investigation began when one woman came forward and reported the alleged coercion. Police are still looking for about 50 women known to have been detained by Taylor over an 18-month period. Taylor has been on unpaid administrative leave since his arrest in February.
Encounter with Police
State Tracked Protesters in the Name of Security
Officials say they have stopped monitoring antiwar and political rallies. The practice violates civil rights, Atty. Gen. Lockyer says.
When we arrived for the scheduled 4:00-5:00pm protest there were two ECPD cars present. One was parked on Cordel Ct, up the hill from 1870. The other was parked in the driveway of Hunters office building. There was one officer in each car. About 4:15 there were 20 protesters assembled on the sidewalk, the officer from the car in the drive way and told us that we must keep moving and stay out of the street. He was unpleasant and appeared angry; early thirties, dark short cut hair, short with a pudgy build and face. Later a group of us went to walk up the drive to the office building and the officer challenged us: "Where do you think you are going?" "Hunter's office" we replied. "No you're not. This is private property." He finally allowed two of us to walk up. Again he appeared angry because we were protesting, was antagonistic and unpleasant. He left, in a blast of noise and exhaust, before we did. Protecting Our Future?
A car started tailgating me on Flinn Springs road. I sort of lost her after the left turn onto Olde Hwy 80. We got slowed down at Oak Creek to about 40mph. I moved to the right and never really increased speed (the speed limit is 50mph). She also moved right and accelerated right at me; I signaled the turn. I looked forward and slowed to turn and she hit me.
She had a puppy on her lap the whole time. (Ban on driving with pet in lap advances; spay law rejected http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080823/news_1n23pets.html)
The first words from her were: "You stopped right in the middle of the road."
I didn't stop until I was off the road. She would have hit me even if I hadn't slowed down.
She gave me her id but when I asked for proof of insurance she didn't have it.
When she failed to provide proof of insurance, I dialed 911 on my cell phone. I got a recorded message twice, I responded "one" both times. A dispatcher answered, I gave my name and location, stated that I did not need medical assistance. I explained that the other driver did not have proof of insurance and her car was not drivable, a sheriff was dispatched. The sheriff arrived, asked several questions and called for the CHP. The sheriff gave me his card.
A CHP officer arrived. The other driver complained that I had yelled at her and the officer told me I was childish. He was very antagonistic and angry that he had been called to a minor accident. He asked me several questions and always cut me off before I could answer. I think he was trying to make me angry. I offered him a copy of my card and he waved it away.
The officer told me I should have gotten out of her way. I explained that I was turning off into the drive way and he repeated that I should have moved over and let the other driver pass. He held his hand up to cut off any further comment from me.
It looked like he finally cited her for following too close, excessive speed and unsafe operation.
I didn't yell at the young woman.
I was riding east on Broadway, approaching Ballantyne: the traffic light turned red. I waited at the light, splitting the right hand turn lane and the through lane. Cross traffic was stopped and the left turn lanes off of Broadway had the advanced green light. There was no opposing left turn traffic so I jumped the red and proceeded east on Broadway . I heard a siren and realized I was being pulled over by an ECPD cruised. I ran up the driveway onto the sideway and stopped straddling my bike. I faced the cop who stopped his car in the street in the curb lane. The officer proceeded to berate me. I remained silent. The officer threatened to cite me but then returned to his car and drove off. I continued east on Broadway and a group of kids cat called me and made the naughty finger gesture. I told them to let that be a lesson to them.
The El Cajon Municipal Code makes it a crime to ride a bike on the sidewalk.
CHP Corruption and incompetence
CHP stonewalls yet again. Leaked memo shows formal policy of obstructing outside probes. Scandal and the California Highway Patrol have become synonymous in recent years. CHP commissioners promising change come and go, but the agency's secretiveness and resistance to outside scrutiny remain as entrenched as ever. Now, an official CHP memo obtained by the Union-Tribune shows the agency's obstructionism isn't just an unshakable hangover from the days of CHP Commissioner Spike Helmick, who thought he ran a fourth, inviolate branch of government. Instead, it is formal CHP policy. The July 1, 2008, memo “reminded” all CHP commands that the agency must not cooperate, without direct approval from Commissioner Joseph Farrow, with local law enforcement agencies investigating alleged wrongdoing by CHP employees. This is justified on the grounds that it is required by state law. Wrong. The state penal code explicitly states that peace officers' personnel records must be provided upon request to a grand jury, district attorney or state attorney general investigating a peace officer's conduct. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20081026/news_lz1ed26top.html
Ex-CHP chief's tenure a spectacle of scandal
Put him under oath
December 27, 2006 In October 1995, Gov. Pete Wilson made one of the worst decisions of his career. The former San Diego mayor appointed Dwight “Spike” Helmick as commissioner of the California Highway Patrol, despite Helmick's role in a scandal in which the daughters of the man Helmick succeeded – Maurice Hannigan – were given special treatment after a drunken driving arrest and a speeding citation. The captain whose officers ticketed Hannigan's daughters alleged he was transferred as punishment.
A leopard can't change his spots. Helmick's 10 years running the CHP were marked by a stunning indifference to propriety. There was the spectacle of 80 percent of top CHP officers hiking their pensions with dubious disability claims on the eve of retirement. There was the case of the CHP interfering in the recall of Gov. Gray Davis by banning signature-gathering at DMV offices. There was the case of top CHP officials ignoring civil service rules meant to guarantee merit-based promotions. There was the case of the $5.3 million no-bid contract for pistols that would have cost millions less in open bidding.
Now the latest Sacramento Bee expose shows that Helmick's CHP approved nearly $50 million in contracts to buy helicopters and motorcycles without open bidding after suppliers treated some agency officials to trips to Europe in defiance of state law.
Helmick has a lot to answer for; instead, however, he ducks questions or dismisses allegations as “simply not factual.”
This is simply not acceptable. The Legislature must take a comprehensive look at Helmick's 10 years at the CHP – and he should be witness No. 1, sworn to tell the whole truth and nothing but. Given how much went haywire in a key state agency on his watch, a good grilling is in order.
CHP stands for “Constantly Having Problems”
New scandal shows need for full CHP audit
December 2, 2006 Does CHP stand for “Constantly Having Problems”? Given the steady stream of scandals at the California Highway Patrol, such snide asides are merited.
First came reports in 2004 and 2005 that 80 percent of senior CHP officials used dubious injury claims to spike their future pensions as they neared retirement. Top managers not only tolerated this abuse of taxpayers, they joked about “chief's disease.”
Then came reports this summer about the CHP's decision to bypass the usual rules and award a $5.3 million no-bid contract to Smith & Wesson to buy nearly 10,000 new pistols. Not only did CHP officials fail to determine if the new pistols fit in existing holsters – they didn't, forcing the expenditure of another $380,000 – a Sacramento Bee probe showed arguably superior pistols could have been acquired for about $3 million.
Now the Bee reports that a CHP lieutenant helped a company operated by his daughter and son-in-law get $598,000 in no-bid contracts for automated license plate scanning systems for patrol cars.
Perhaps this finally will persuade Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and leaders of the Legislature that the time has come for a tough audit of CHP contracting, something that Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City, have sought since July.
Given the history here, we would support an even more sweeping audit – because something has gone haywire at the California Highway Patrol. Romero is onto something when she talks about the agency's dysfunctional “code of silence” culture.
The Legislature and the governor appear to have a packed agenda for the coming year. Nevertheless, they must make time to address the CHP mess. Better late than never.
Hit-run deaths see 20% increase
Rise since 2000 far above overall pedestrian rate
October 17, 2006 The number of pedestrians killed by hit-and-run drivers has jumped 20% since 2000 and is at its highest level in a decade, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
The increase compounds the problems of investigating hit-and-run cases, which investigators say are among the most difficult crimes to solve because they often happen at night with no witnesses.
“Even if you're lucky enough to get the car, you can't always get the driver,” says Richard Ashton of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Of the 4,881 pedestrians killed last year, 974 died in hit-and-runs, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show. The total number of pedestrians killed nationwide increased by about 2% since 2000, but hit-and-run deaths increased at almost 10 times that pace, the USA TODAY analysis found.
“It's an outrageous statistic,” says Peter Kissinger, CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. He says that although the increase is difficult to explain, likely factors include more cars sharing the road with more pedestrians, and increasingly distracted and aggressive drivers.
“I think it's a sad commentary on our society,” Kissinger says.
No national tally exists showing how many hit-and-run cases are solved. In many investigations in which drivers are later found, they tell police that they fled out of fear or because they had been drinking and wanted to avoid legal trouble, says Lt. Doug Dodson, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol.
“By the time we find them, a lot of them are really eaten up with guilt,” Dodson says.
The last time the USA had so many hit-and-run deaths was in 1996, when there were 982, records show. More than 5,400 pedestrians were killed that year.
Some of the crashes are deliberate attempts to hurt or kill. But in many others, drivers have done nothing wrong until they flee, says Michael Payne, a Fort Myers, Fla., investigator.
“Quite often, it's simply an accident,” he says. “But people get scared.”
Recent victims include Mary Kelley, 77, killed as she crossed the street March 2 in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., on her way home from dinner. The driver, Jeanne Rose Dunn, didn't stop and didn't report the crash until the next day, prosecutors allege.
Dunn would not comment because she is charged with a felony for leaving the scene of the crash. She told investigators that she thought a rock had hit her windshield, according to a police report, and that she did not realize what happened until she heard about Kelley's death on the radio.
The crash haunts Kelley's children. “I wonder what's in somebody's mind that they could just hit someone and drive away,” says her son Kevin Kelley.
Emeryville Amtrak Station
A black woman hit me up for $7.50 for medicine. She was by the door and had a bike with a broken pedal. She was holding a cell phone and some credit or debit cards and a CVS card. She said she had been waiting 2 hours for a woman who would help her with he cancer treatments. I gave her $20. I think I got scammed. Sunday, October 17, 2010, about 10:00am.
The "crying girl" is a particularly prolific and notorious scammer who has been victimizing people in Davis. She is a dark haired girl who has dyed her hair reddish blond who sometimes wears heavy, tear-smeared make-up. She hangs out around the downtown area or in front of grocery stores, clutching a train schedule and approaching people with one of two stories. Depending on the age and gender of her mark, she alternates between a story involving her mother stranding her in Davis and another involving her boyfriend dumping her and then stranding her in Davis. She has been known to fake crying during these encounters, often with real tears. The amount requested for "train tickets" will generally be around $40 dollars, give or take a few dollars to lend legitimacy. Reportedly, she has also begun telling people a new story wherein she purports to be homeless. She has been known be become aggressive when people make her mad and confrontations with her should be avoided. http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/22/meet-the-crying-girl.html
Friday evening $20
We went to dinner at Sizzler Friday night after work. Sizzler is right by Smart & Final food store; same parking lot. April 13, 2007
We were leaving and as I was getting in my car there was a woman talking on a cell phone standing behind my car. I got in the driver's seat and she tapped on my rear passenger window. I rolled the window down and she told me this story.
Her car had broken down. The mechanic came to giver he a jump start but he thought it was the starter motor. Her mother was with her, they were out buying medicine, her mother had a tube in her leg. They were from up by Temecula. They were stranded but the shuttle was coming to take them to the trolley so they could get to the coaster to go to Oceanside. She needed money for the Coaster, she asked her father (he was on the cell phone) how much they would need for the Coaster; $7.50 each. So I gave her $20 and wrote out my address (PO Box) on a slip of paper and she said she would mail me the money.
This woman was dressed very flamboyantly, died red hair, leopard print, cleavage, very wild. I don't know if this was a scam or not. I also gave her a couple of bottles of water and told her to keep hydrated. If she was going to get to Oceanside via the Coaster she had about three hours ahead of her. If she was running a scam she was working pretty hard at that and could use the water too!
Scammed in La Mesa
Although this happened in La Mesa, I know a lot of El Cajon residents shop at Costco on Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa which is why I am including it in this blog. I am not sure if this was a single occurence or if the Costco parking lot is being "worked" by scammers. I guess only time will tell. My wife and I were returning to our car the other nite near closing time at Costco. The parking lot was beginning to clear so maybe we were an easier mark. Next to our car and one parked next to us a woman was having a phone conversation quite loud and we overheard her saying she didn't know the name of the street Costco was on. My wife overheard her and she told the woman it was Fletcher Parkway. The woman thanked my wife and proceeded into her litany of woe--Their car had a short and would not start, and as she was from Julian her AAA mileage towing limits were exceeded. She had talked to someone in Costco and had gotten the OK to leave the car overnite in the parking lot--but to get to Julian she and her (unseen-supposedly waiting up at the store) father had to resort to taking a shuttle to get there and they didn't have enough money for both of them--then came the request for money-all this time she was still (supposedly) having a phone conversation with her mother--my wife asked how much they needed--started out at $35 but when we didn't respond quick enough the needed amount came down to $25--she told us (of course)that she would pay us back the next day if we gave her our contact info. My wife and I normally do not ever give money to strangers but I guess we were both caught at a time when we really thought this could be a legitimate request for someone in distress so we gave her the $25 and our contact info and only asked that she call us when she got back to Julian later that night no matter how late it was--she agreed, thanked us and the money changed hands and she supposedly went off to get her father waiting at the store. We left after noting the license plate number of her (supposed) car that had been parked next to us. Long story short.....of course there was no phone call later that nite--or the next day for that matter--no contact whatsoever. So much for thinking we had helped someone out--more like they helped US out.....of $25.
We went back the next day and her car whose plate number we had copied the nite before WAS STILL THERE IN THE SAME PLACE--very strange--I went and talked to the manager on duty and told him what happened the nite before and I asked him if anyone had asked to leave their car overnite in the parking lot the nite before--he said no one had--but they don't normally tow cars out of the lot anyway--I also informed him the car was still there and he came out with me to look--said he would get back to me by phone later that nite after he had done some investigation but we didn't hear back from him either.
Just wanted to give those who might be going to Costco near closing time a "heads up" about this just in case the Costco parking lot is being "worked" by this particular scammer. It seems right near closing time is the perfect time to try and get someone to fall for this ruse and I realize now we could have asked a lot more questions that might have convinced us we were dealing with a scammer but we had hoped we were genuinely helping someone out of a predicament.(the car being in the same place the following day is still a mystery to us)- As I said we NEVER have given money out to strangers before no matter how urgent the request and this experience has taught us never to let our guard down. Keep alert--I hope relating this experience here will keep someone else from becoming victim to a scammer.
don't let this happen to you
ANCHORAGE, AK, United States (UPI) -- Police in Alaska have arrested a man they allege duped hundreds of people with the tale of a pregnant wife, a bum truck and the need for a quick loan.
Wayne Winters Jr., 38, was arrested Friday and charged with felony scheming to defraud, the Anchorage Daily News reported. People all over Anchorage allegedly gave Winters thousands of dollars after he would approach them politely saying his wife was in the hospital, about to give birth, and his truck had broken down.
'I`m a nice guy,' Curtis Graham, one of Winters` alleged victims said after learning there was no pregnant wife. 'He obviously had a pretty fine-tuned story.'
Winters has a history of theft and drug convictions dating back to the early 1990s, police said. He was arrested at a mall in Anchorage when a man recognized him from a television news report.
Beware of strangers telling you their car has broken down - either knocking on your door and asking for your help or approaching you in a parking lot. http://shq.lasdnews.net/content/uoa/SDM/Gypsy%20Scams%20-%20article%20for%20web%20site%20Sept.2012.pdf
El Cajon's Sky Watch camera
El Cajon's Sky Watch camera, perched on a 24-foot high tower, will keep watch over crowds at the Westfield Parkway Plaza mall.
The mobile unit, which cost nearly $90,000, was purchased this year in time for the holiday season with Homeland Security funds.
Law Enforcement Links
Online Resources http://www.nationalpublicsafety.com/links.htm