Opinion

Editorial: A disturbing trend

A terrible trend was on the upswing in 2013.

The number of hit-and-run crashes, most with tragic results, was staggering last year.

A five-year-old boy was left with serious head injuries after a young woman driving a Mercedes hit him and drove off. She turned herself in with a lawyer a few days later. The boy is recovering slowly.

In November, Jonathan Forero, 19, who is in a wheelchair because of a brittle bone condition, was struck in a hit-and-run and seriously injured. He made a plea to the driver to turn himself in.

He didn’t, but was allegedly caught a month later.

A couple were mowed down and killed in Coquitlam, with a veteran in his 90s later arrested. Also in Coquitlam, a 16-year-old girl, an only child, was killed in a marked crosswalk. That driver, of a black truck, is still out there.

On Dec. 5, a young North Vancouver woman was put in the ICU and a 24-year-old woman was later arrested for the crash after an off-duty cop noticed damage to the front end of a vehicle parked in the area.

Closer to home, in Langley, a Surrey RCMP consultant, who specializes in re-creating crashes, is suspected in the hit-and-run that killed a 37-year-old Langley man in August.

In April, a 19-year-old was struck and seriously injured and left for dead in a ditch in the 19700 block of 72 Avenue. Her boyfriend discovered her after hearing her cries. No driver has been found by police. In that same spot, an 11-year-old was hit in November. He is OK, but the driver was never found.

What is the moral make-up of drivers who can hit another human being and care so little for that person and so much for themselves that they are willing to leave someone to possibly die in order to save their own hide?

It certainly isn’t fear of what they will face inside the justice system.

Case after case, including the short jail term Paul Wettlaufer received for the hit-and-run death of 13-year-old Carley Regan, in 2003 is testament to that.

There is no “type” when it comes to people who commit a hit and run. This year, those arrested include everyone from young women to the elderly. They are of all ages, of every race, equally divided by gender. Some have terrible driving backgrounds, some were without a blemish.

Are we in society losing the moral duty to take responsibility for our actions? It’s hard to know.

Some of these low-lifes are reading this now, watching their backs, in case the truth catches up to them eventually.

It would be fascinating to know why more and more drivers are choosing to run from the scene. Perhaps if we knew the reason, we could work on curbing this. Collectively, with police, ICBC and as a society, we need to find a way to make sure this tragic crime isn’t trending again in 2014.

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