The mothers, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters of two USC students struck by a hit-and-run driver near the campus packed Los Angeles City Hall on Wednesday to ask for the public's help in finding the motorist, whose capture could bring a hefty reward.
The Los Angeles City Council approved a $75,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case, and USC's vice president of student affairs, Michael Jackson, announced that the university would put up $50,000. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $10,000 reward on Tuesday, bringing the total amount to $135,000.
The mother of Adrianna Bachan, who was killed in the hit-and-run, sobbed as she asked for help in finding the driver and passenger who were in the black car that struck her 18-year-old daughter and Marcus Garfinkle as they crossed Jefferson Boulevard at Hoover Street about 3 a.m. Sunday.
"She was my sunrise ... and now the sun will never rise again for anyone in my family," Carmen Bachan said. "Whoever saw anything, please come forward. I need to catch these animals. Please, I beg you."
LAPD detectives believe the car was possibly a Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla or a Lexus. The driver, who was heading east on Jefferson when he ran a red light and struck the two students, was described by police as an Hispanic man with a shaved head.
After the car hit Garfinkle, the driver stopped long enough for a passenger to pull the 19-year-old student off the hood, then turned south on Figueroa Street, LAPD Detective Jimmy Render said.
Garfinkle remains hospitalized in serious condition.
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His mother, Barbara Vreeland, told the crowd, "I'm Marcus' mom, and I am the lucky one here. I would just like to say to the public (that) someone does know something or someone that was involved in this, and they need to come forward."
The freshman from Arizona is a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, whose members were joined by young women from Bachan's sorority, Pi Beta Phi, in the council chamber.
"There are two men -- if you want to call them men since they lack the courage, I feel, to be called men -- out on the streets right now who need to be brought to justice," said Cameron Kay, president of the fraternity.
He said "offering this reward is our best shot at bringing these people to justice and furthermore, helping to bring closure to the tragic loss that we have experienced."
Anyone with information regarding the case was asked to contact LAPD detectives at 323-290-6070 or 213-485-7336.