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Hit and Run Charges for Officer While Search Begins for Another Offender

Jason Reese

On August 23, 2015, a Toyota making a left turn onto Casino Center Drive in Hammond, Indiana cut off a Suzuki motorcycle traveling on Indianapolis Boulevard. The ensuing crash threw Matthew Carlassare, age 23, from his motorcycle and left him with serious injuries, including a cardiac contusion, head injury, and multiple fractures. Witnesses say the driver of the Toyota did not even stop.

Last Friday, Daniel J. Kooi was charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing bodily injury and leaving the scene of an accident. Kooi, a 13 year veteran of the Evanston Police Department in Illinois, is accused of the hit and run that injured Carlassare. A few moments after the accident, video shows Kooi driving his car into the parking garage of a nearby casino, parking long enough to walk around and inspect the exterior of his car before driving off again. Kooi was placed on unpaid administrative leave from the Evanston PD shortly after the crash due to an ongoing internal investigation. Though charged on Friday, the accused has not arrived at Lake County Jail, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Hit and run injuries and deaths have been increasing steadily since 2009 despite the fact that overall traffic deaths have been in decline. Just two days after the charges for Kooi, a pedestrian was seriously injured in an Indianapolis hit and run accident. 35 year old Daniela Lopez-Jimenez was crossing High School Road just north of 38th Street when a southbound Silver Dodge Charger struck her. She remains in critical condition at Eskanazi Hospital while local law enforcement request help to find the driver who left the scene without even calling for help for Lopez-Jimenez. Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact the IMPD Crash Investigations Section at (317) 327-6549 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 262-TIPS (8477).

Indiana law requires any driver involved in a crash to stop and provide aid. Unfortunately, too many individuals, especially those who are driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, believe they may be able to get away with no one noticing their involvement in the crash. Not only is this a cruel and inhumane act toward victims of the accident, but it is also a bad idea for the fleeing driver, as that individual has now committed a crime by leaving the scene of the accident without stopping to care for victims of the crash.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a hit & run accident, now is the time to call for help. The motor vehicle accident lawyers at Wagner Reese are equipped with the knowledge and skill you want when it comes to the compensation you deserve from your insurance company, or from the insurance company of the perpetrator (if they are apprehended). Do not hesitate, as the statute of limitations is short on cases like these. Give us a call today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule your free consultation.

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