Almost as troubling is the initial reaction from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. I don't normally like to knock law enforcement, they are only charged with enforcing existing laws, not making them, not prosecuting them. But tied into the process of enforcement is the act of interpretation. When a department spokesperson says "unless the driver is intoxicated, nothing other than having a traffic accident taken is going to come out of this" has to leave me wondering what ever happened to the serve and protect code (granted that is the LAPD motto, but have always believed it should apply to all in the public service sector).
That is it? A "traffic accident?" And don't get me started on that word, accident, you know how I feel about the long history of misuse with it. I was always under the impression that if you hit someone, or even something, and callously flee the scene, than a crime has been committed. Compound that with the loss of a human life and I would think that there should be some serious charges involved. But apparently, this is no big deal. Just another accident. I keep wondering when our society at large will begin to take this with the gravity it deserves. Honestly, whether riding my bike, walking, or driving my motor vehicle, I do not want an individual with so little regard for the lives of others to be loose on the streets; and certainly not in control of a machine capable of taking another life anywhere, at anytime. Do you?
Update, 12 September, a story from yesterday's Inland Valley Daily Bulletin notes that law enforcement is still requesting the public's help in identifying a suspect in the collision that cost Michael Vega his life. Information can be left annonymously at 909-477-2800.
Update, 13 September, from City of Rancho Cucamonga Councilwoman Diane Williams (via Friends of Pacific Electric Trail Facebook page):
SUMMARY: **UPDATE** September 13, 2012
On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, deputies from the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department received We-Tip information regarding the suspect and suspect vehicle involved in the hit and run on August 28th.
Deputies were advised that the driver of the vehicle was Jason Cox and he worked for a local construction company in Chino. Deputies contacted an employee of the construction company, confirmed Jason Cox employment, and conducted an inspection of the vehicle involved.
Deputies made contact with Jason Cox at his residence in Rancho Cucamonga. Cox was subsequently arrested, transported and booked into the West Valley Detention Center for PC 191.5(a) Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while intoxicated and VC 20001 (a) Hit and Run resulting in death or injury. He is being held on $250,000 bail and is cheduled to appear in court on September 17, 2012.
The Rancho Cucamonga Police Department would like to thank the media and the concerned citizens for their assistance throughout this investigation. The media coverage and the information received by concerned citizens led to the successful conclusion of this investigation.