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Woman Accused of Hit-and-Run of a Police Officer Says Children Distracted Her – California Vehicle Code Section 20001

Hit & runAn Indiana woman wanted in connection with a hit-and-run accident that killed a Greenfield police officer turned herself in on Monday, claiming that she had been distracted by her three children who were in the car at the time.

61-year-old Sue Ann Vanderbeck of Indianapolis told police that on September 28, the accident occurred when she was driving home after midnight from her late mother’s home in Cambridge City with her three children: a 4-year-old boy with autism and two 15-month-old twins. Vanderbeck said she was traveling westbound on U.S. 40, singing to and looking back at her 4-year-old son who was reportedly difficult to keep calm, when she swerved to avoid an unknown object in the roadway.

The right fender of Vanderbeck’s van struck what she determined to be a bicycle. When she looked back, Vanderbeck said she saw two other men on bicycles assist the man she had hit. Vanderbeck told police that she decided not to stop because she had her children were with her.

When she arrived home, Vanderbeck said she told her husband what had happened. Judging from the small amount of damage sustained by the van, they both reasoned that no one could have been seriously injured and agreed to call the police in the morning. Before going to bed, Vanderbeck saw a news report about Officer Will Phillips, 32, who was hit and killed during a training exercise on U.S. 40 near the Henry-Hancock county line.

Believing that she was involved in that accident, Vanderbeck told police she and her husband decided to call their attorney in the morning to determine when and how to turn herself in to police.

Based on Vanderbeck’s statements, the prosecutor does not believe that Vanderbeck was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.

Punishment for Hit and Run in California

Leaving the scene of an automobile accident that results in death or injury without identifying yourself or providing reasonable assistance is a punishable offense in California under Vehicle Code Section 20001. Under this law, if you are involved in an accident that results in death or injury to another person, you are obligated to stop your vehicle, provide your identifying information, provide reasonable assistance to the injured party, and notify police if none have arrived on the scene.

A failure to do so may result in a hit-and-run conviction that may result in imprisonment for up to one year in county jail or up to four years in state prison if injury/death results. A fine between $1,000 and $10,000 may also be imposed.

Call the Hit and Run Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

If you are facing hit-and-run allegations, it is imperative that you contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney who can aggressively defend your rights. At Wallin & Klarich, or Southern California attorneys can help you raise the best possible defense in your case. Our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing hit and run charges in California for over 30 years. Let us help you now.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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