A standing, tiered reward program for information in hit-and-run crashes was approved by the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday.
The program, backed by Councilman Joe Buscaino, is intended to give witnesses an incentive to come forward with details that will lead to the arrest and conviction of those who flee the scene of a crash.
Previously, rewards were approved by the council on a case-by-case basis. But going forward, rewards will be automatically offered with amounts varying based on the severity of the crime, as follows:
- $50,000 for a fatal injury;
- $25,000 for a permanent, serious injury as defined in section 20001(d) of the vehicle code;
- $5,000 for an injury other than a "permanent serious injury"; and
- $1,000 for property damage.
Multiple hit-and-run victims were in council chambers for the vote, including Damian Kevitt, who was cycling near Griffith Park in 2013 when he was dragged down a freeway ramp and left with many injuries. One of his legs had to be amputated.
The driver of the minivan that struck Kevitt has not been caught.
Buscaino said the approval of his measure marked a great day for the city.
"We have worked hard for this day to send a message to drivers that enough is enough," Buscaino said.