Police: Solving hit and run cases like detective work - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Police: Solving hit and run cases like detective work

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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -

Sandy Springs police say the number of reported hit and runs are up right now -- everything from fender benders to fatal pedestrian wrecks. So how do they catch a hit and run driver?

"Just like with any type of detective work, you've got to identify a suspect. And sometimes we might be able to identify a vehicle but not necessarily the driver," said Sgt. Dan Sergeant Dan Nable with the Sandy Springs Police Department.

Last September, 68-year-old Lanzhen Pan was walking to a class to learn English when she was hit by an SUV and killed at the intersection of Roswell Road and Hightower Trail.

"Whoever was driving the SUV stopped for just a brief second. We had a couple of witnesses that described the vehicle to us, but nobody got a tag number and they did hear a woman exclaim, oh my God," Nable said. He says it's these types of cases that are frustrating.

Sgt. Nable says most hit and run drivers are either already doing something illegal, or they just get scared after the crash. In cases where someone is seriously injured or killed, hit and run investigators have to work quickly.  

"We'll use cell phone records. We'll use video from various locations...businesses. Sometimes there's evidence at the scene, like this broken headlight cover they put back together -- like a puzzle," said Nable.

Generally the most helpful information comes from citizens.

"Hit and run is generally not a planned crime, so you can't pick your location and there are generally a whole lot more witnesses than you think there are," Nable said.

The penalty for a misdemeanor hit and run is up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the wreck becomes deadly and you drive off, you could face a vehicular homicide charge.

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