“Aggressive” Approach to Find Koreatown Hit-and-Run Driver

Going door-to-door and stopping cars on residential streets in Koreatown, the Los Angeles Police Department says they want to be aggressive in finding the driver of an SUV that ran down a 48-year-old grandmother and her 5-year-old grandson last week.

Emma Cermeno, 48 and her grandson Alvin Fuentes, 5 were crossing north on Beverly Boulevard on Jan. 7 just before 8 a.m., east of Robinson street.

That’s when video surveillance shows an SUV making its way through a sunny patch of roadway and into the shade, running down Cermeno and Fuentes. The driver of the gray, early 2000s-model Lincoln Navigator didn’t stop and continued eastbound on Beverly, making a left turn on Hoover Street.

Cermeno was taken to County-USC Medical Center with injuries to her right arm. Her grandson was taken to Children's Hospital Los Angeles with internal injuries, as well as injuries to his jaw and left eye. Both have since been released from the hospital, a family friend says they’ve moved to Palmdale.

LAPD Detective Felix Padilla believes that driver lives somewhere nearby the accident scene, which is why he joined with other officers on Thursday in handing out flyers and knocking on doors.

"When the grandmother was crossing the street, she took her time to make sure that it was clear of any oncoming traffic," Padilla said. "And at a certain point, it was clear."

But he said little Alvin saw what was coming, an image that with the damage to his eyes could be the last clear thing he’ll ever remember seeing.

"When you look at the video, Alvin saw the car coming," Padilla said. "For that brief second, he saw that car coming and the impact he took was tremendous, it knocked him 50 feet from the point of impact into the entrance of an alley."

A mechanic near the scene of the accident was adamant about the way drivers come by in the early mornings and late afternoons.

Paco Rodriguez says many times he watches as drivers come around the corner after hitting one green light and try to speed up to make the next one.

"That’s the problem," Rodriguez said. "Everyone’s in a hurry."

LAPD says the driver had to know he or she hit something because they noticed on surveillance video that they hit the brake lights after impact. Had they stopped when it happened, Padilla believes the case would be closed. But now, he says, that driver will face criminal charges.

"Clearly he or she is hiding," Padilla said. "But this case is not going to close, we’re not going away."

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