A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a hit-and-run driver who killed a bicyclist in South Los Angeles last week, authorities announced Friday.
On the night of Feb. 23, Joseph Morgan Prandoni was riding a bicycle eastbound on Manchester Avenue when a speeding vehicle going in the same direction collided into him from behind, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The crash occurred just east of Gramercy Place shortly after 9 p.m.
The hit-and-run vehicle, which police said appears to be a charcoal gray Nissan cube, fled the scene and Prandoni died from his injuries. Police have released an image of the vehicle pulled from surveillance video.
LAPD officials and Prandoni’s loved ones reached out for the public’s help in finding the driver during a 10 a.m. news conference on Friday.
“Please turn yourself in … it’s not right to leave someone like that,” Prandoni’s girlfriend, Brianna, said.
The 32-year-old’s girlfriend and family members described him as a talented artist who made food deliveries for DoorDash to make ends meet. His mother could be seen clutching his girlfriend and younger sister in between speaking to reporters.
“Joe was a really free spirit, and he found beauty in unlikely places, in unlikely people,” his mother, Marita Prandoni, said. “He loved living in South-Central and he was loved by his neighbors.”
“As you can see from his art, he was incredibly talented and I would say his life was ended about six decades too soon,” his mother said.
Prandoni often rode his bike when doing deliveries or just getting around, often riding “for miles and miles,” his girlfriend said.
“He has been a very good man. He’s been taking care of us and making sure that I’m OK,” Brianna said.
While Brianna said Prandoni was working for DoorDash when he was fatally hit, LAPD Detective Carol Mitchell said police have been told by the delivery service that Prandoni was not working for them at the time.
“At this point, we’re not sure,” Mitchell said.
Meanwhile, Prandoni’s younger sister, Noel, said she does not wish any ill will on the driver but hopes “they can actually improve their own life.” She also said her brother was musically talented just as much as artistically.
According to LAPD, the Nissan believed to be involved in the crash may have minor damage to the front passenger side. However, it’s still unclear since authorities have not seen the vehicle in person.
The crash occurred less than a mile from another hit-and-run crash that also killed a bicyclist along Manchester Avenue. Frederick Frazier, 22, was fatally struck on April 10, 2018.
The next day, a pedestrian later identified as a friend of Frazier’s was also hit by a vehicle at a vigil being held for Frazier in the same intersection where he was killed.