Last night I wrote this:
Finally, news broke today that 60-year old Gardena resident Jesse Dotson died last Friday of the injuries he suffered in yet another hit-and-run on Wednesday, the 26th.
Despite initial reports that they were looking for a Hispanic man in his 40s or 50s, Gardena police have arrested 22-year old Vanessa Marie Yanez for Dotson’s death. She faces charges of suspicion of manslaughter, perjury, filing a false police report and felony hit-and-run.
In other words, they threw the book at her, instead of the relative slap on the wrist most killer drivers face.
She must have done something to really piss someone off.
My sincere prayers and sympathy for Jesse Dotson and all his loved ones.
Now LAist offers an explanation for just who the driver is, and just why the charges are so steep.
Vanessa Yanez, 22—the daughter of LAPD Sgt. Arturo Yanez—later filed a report with Huntington Park police claiming her car had been stolen. After seeing the hit-and-run news story, a Huntington Park police officer tipped off Gardena police. Authorities found Yanez’s vehicle at her home in Gardena, where she lives with her family—including her father. The front windshield of the car was shattered. The home is located less than a mile from the scene of the crime.
Video from KABC shows her father aggressively confronting their news crew outside the Gardena police station following his daughter’s arraignment.
According to KABC,
Dotson’s family say they’re grateful his alleged killer has been caught, but wonder how much the suspect’s father may have known. And so do Gardena detectives, who are now investigating the LAPD sergeant’s potential knowledge of the deadly accident. His own department is also now investigating.
Gardena detectives said the sergeant could face charges if it turns out he had any information about the accident. His daughter faces a long list of charges, including vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run, perjury and filing a false police report. She’s expected to be in court on Monday.
If the investigation shows any hint of involvement by the father — such as hiding the car or recommending that she report it stolen — he can and should face criminal charges.
And his shameful aggressive confrontation with a news team legally doing their job should be enough to get him an immediate suspension.
Meanwhile, both stories provide more information about Dotson, who was on his way to his job with the Postal Service when he was run down and left to die in the street next to his broken bike.
Like Arturo Yanez, Dotson was a father, as well as a grandfather. Unlike Dotson, though, Yanez can still come home to his family.
Dotson never will.
Update: According to KNBC-4, Vanessa Yanez admitted drinking before the collision that killed Jesse Dotson.
As you may be aware, drunk driving is one of the leading motivators for hit-and-run, since the penalty for fleeing the scene pales in comparison to that of DUI. In many cases, it can actually be to the driver’s benefit to flee the scene, then turn themselves in after they’ve had a chance to sober up.