On November 21, 79-year-old Marilyn Joy Haight stopped at a grocery store near the intersection of Pioneer Blvd. at Lindale Street in Norwalk to pick up supplies for the next day’s Thanksgiving celebration. Minutes after leaving the store, LASD deputies at the Norwalk station began receiving reports that a woman was hit by a moving vehicle while crossing the street. Deputies arrived soon after and the victim was transported to the hospital where she later died of her injuries.

Initially, deputies didn’t know who she was until her family arrived at her house on Thanksgiving, discovered she wasn’t there, and called the Norwalk Sheriff Station to report her missing. Unfortunately, no description of the vehicle nor the suspect are available, though deputies are still investigating.

Hit-and-runs are covered under California Vehicle Code 20002 VC and are described as leaving the scene of an accident without first identifying yourself properly to others involved. The crime is typically charged as a misdemeanor when property is damaged, however if someone is injured or killed as a result of the hit-and-run, it can instead be charged as a felony under California Vehicle Code 20001 VC.

While VC 20001 is technically known as “felony hit-and-run,” it’s actually a “wobbler” that can result in misdemeanor charges, felony charges, or possibly both. If the hit-and-run is charged as a misdemeanor, whether under VC 20002 or VC 20001, the possible penalties include up to 3 years probation, up to 6 months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, restitution to the victim, and two points on the defendant’s DMV record. When charged as a felony, the possible penalties include between $1,000 and $10,000 in fines, and/or up to 4 years in California State prison if someone is seriously injured.