Now it makes sense — daughter of LAPD Sgt. charged for covering up Jesse Dotson hit-and-run death

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.

Dotson was riding to work around 9:50 pm on the 1000 block of El Segundo Blvd when he was hit and left bleeding in the street with severe head injuries as the driver fled the scene.

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.


  1. D. D. Syrdal says:

    It’s just so appalling, I can hardly see straight. My deepest sympathies to Mr. Dotson’s family.

  2. grrlyrida says:

    Errrgh!! These are the most pathetic excuses for human beings I’ve seen in the news of late–the father and the daughter. It’s his duty by law to protect and serve, but he only found time to serve the interests of his daughter and himself. He should be suspended immediately. My sympathies to the Dotson children and grandchildren.

  3. wayne says:

    In the interests of justice…why is the person not behind bars..instead of being released.

  4. JD says:

    The LAPD motto should be: “We Protect Our Own”.

  5. anthony says:

    I’m so glad this careless n heartless bitch got caught I hope her father gets time as well I’m sure the prison will receive him with open arms

  6. The daughter of the LAPD sergeant has been charged. Let us wait until the investigation indicates whether he was involved or knowledge before lynching him. My thought is if he was involved, her vehicle would not have been found at her home.

    • Bob W says:

      My thought is that any parent, and most especially an experienced police sergeant, would recognize the implications of a shattered windshield and confront the daughter about it. And he would be more likely than most to know that there had been a fatal hit and run a mile from home. So my instinct is just the opposite – that the fact that the car was still at the home unrepaired days after the accident is a sign that he probably did have some knowledge of what happened.
      Either way, I’m just glad to see the legal process moving forward aggressively for a change.

  7. Erik Griswold says:

    Why isn’t she in jail until the trial?

    • bikinginla says:

      She was arrested, but hasn’t been arraigned yet. Bail will likely be set when she appears in court on Monday.

  8. Vox populi says:

    This case also brings up an important issue that needs to be brought into the light. As a result of the shattered windshield. Are there protections for the victims of hit and run bike collisions via information/tips provided by car dealers, auto glass replacement companies, auto repair shops, that are suspect collisions and must be reported to police agencies? Perhaps, detectives should educate these repair shops on how to identify suspect collisions or a protocol on when to report? I hate to say it folks, but –money talks– it makes me think of all of these hit and run drivers that rush to get their autos repaired and in effect sail on the down the river home free. Maybe if the auto insurance companies offer incentive to drivers who report collisions or tips by offering them rebates on their auto insurance, or the DMV offering free registration to the drivers, for the life of their vehicles by helping to provide anonymous tips to solve these hit and run cases. Something to think about folks.

    • Bob W says:

      Love these ideas, especially the incentives to report when you’ve witnessed an accident or have knowledge of a vehicular crime. It seems like it would save time and money for law enforcement and insurance companies, and might help overcome the resistance many people have to speak up for fear of lost time & wages in court.

  9. JC476 says:

    Assemblyman Allan Mansoor proposed AB956 to add 5 years to those who hit and run while DUI. The bill was withdrawn earlier this year because………the State of CA did NOT want to spend more money keeping the KILLERS behind bars in PRISON. Just who are these representatives working for?

  10. Prinzrob says:

    Last I checked perjury, filing a false police report, hit-and-run, and drunk driving were all still illegal, regardless of whether a bicyclist hit was using lights or not. Joe’s comments are pure speculation based on zero reported facts, and moreso add little to the conversation even if validated. I suggest that they just be deleted.

  11. Amanda says:

    I second Prinzrob. Ignore the trolls.

  12. Syzlak says:

    Joe, Dotson did not deserve die, even if he was lacking lights (which we can’t prove one way or the other without directly asking the police at the scene).

    Would lights have saved Dotson’s life from a drunk, careless driver willing to leave him for dead and lie to the police? Not a chance.

    Stop looking to excuse Vanessa for killing Dotson.

  13. bikinginla says:

    Joe, my only rules for comments on this blog are no personal insults, show respect for others, and don’t disrespect the dead. You have consistently broken every one of those rules, yet up to now, I’ve allowed your comments to remain on here.

    No more.

    You are nothing more than an internet troll hiding behind a fake email address to insult me and spread lies about the victim of this crime, in an apparent attempt to deflect blame from the heartless coward who hit an innocent man and left him to die in the street.

    I’ve never said this before to anyone in the six years since I started this blog.

    But from the bottom of my heart, go fuck yourself.


    And don’t even think about coming back here.

    • bikinginla says:

      For anyone wondering about the above comment, it comes in response to a long series of comments by someone who called me a moron — and worse — because I refused to criticize the victim in this case for not using lights, suggesting that Dotson was at fault for his own death. And repeatedly claiming, as a result, that I don’t care about the lives and safety of cyclists; I would sincerely hope the totality of this blog stands as a testament to the contrary.

      In fact, there has been no suggestion at this point that Jesse Dotson was riding without lights at the time of his death, or that he did have lights, for that matter. We simply don’t know at this point, and I refuse to point the finger without compelling evidence one way or another.

      Whether or not he was using lights, it does not absolve the driver of responsibility to stop following the collision, or in any way justify leaving a man bleeding in the street. Let alone drinking before getting behind the wheel, or lying about it afterwards in an apparent attempt to cover up the crime.

      I go out of my way to allow a free and open discourse on this blog, even when the comments disagree with, or are critical of, me. But I will not stand for blaming the victim based on nothing more than someone’s suppositions, then attacking me because refuse to play along.

      In virtually every other case where I’ve encountered a similar attack, it’s turned out that the commenter was a friend or relative of the person accused of killing a cyclist, and trying to disparage the victim in order to excuse the behavior of the person behind the wheel.

      I would not be surprised if that was what was happening here.

      And I apologize for the language. But in this case, I believe it was warranted.

      • Robert Prinz says:

        I’m going to just assume that Joe = John Forester, and is off his meds again. He hasn’t provided any evidence to disprove this claim, so it must be true!

  14. Karl says:

    Although I support this sites purpose and the unprecedented developments I’m always sad when confronted with the fact that whatever was deleted I’ve arrived too late and should I wish to receive any more unwelcome here but still historical crap I’ll have to risk if not crap emanating from myself then at least suffer the conflict of having insufficient content to contribute but no other way to fully join the conversation. So unfortunately I don’t know if anyone offers all the blogging engine presently used offers without such an arbitrary restriction on receiving updates or even if it itself can be configured some other way.

    I do think that speculating about the identity of whoever truly overstayed there welcome is probably unfair to both of them as we should assume we don’t know what we don’t actually know for sure. I say this in part because my experience in dealing anonymously has me having lost count of the number of names I’ve been called and it’s an odd experience to deal with someone even briefly when there certain of something that just isn’t true- especially when it comes to who you are.

    I’ve commented before about blaming victim’s of ‘accident’s but the point is not tiresome to me so I’ll conclude unfortunately with only it.

    What makes it dangerous to not be in a car is mainly the cost of allowing cars to be in for those who choose to engage in that wantonly. It is that choice, almost always not necessary, that creates absurd notions that anyone who makes it too easy to be killed is to blame. It is over-shared space and it is not those who use cars who create the problem alone- but there exploitation by those who profit equipping/inflicting us with both of them- the cars and those who correctly might note there exercising little choice in banding with the other common wagonites. A ‘wagon’ is of course for cargo- not people unless there cargo, not drivers, but large numbers of passengers, for city to city or at best if not that rural use.

    So any fault of someone not using a car alone in the city is more then compensated for by them NOT USING A CAR IN THE CITY.

    Someone who is killed by someone capable of killing is taking a bullet someone else might of taken with less say in it- and that is what a hero is. Using all the saftey equipment we can afford makes us safer if not everyone does, if the ‘quota’ of carnage is filled by those willing, choosing, to risk to any extent there lives so nobly as to not be so much of the problem by not biking at all.

    I’m understanding a daughter and a biker begin the story. The main fact is that someone drove a car and should never be allowed to drive again because that did not work out and all of us already know that when we decide to drive instead of bike we are playing ‘motor city roulette’ with not ‘just’ strangers lives but have nearly if not certainly already doomed the planet for all generations to come.

    Forcing us to wear bells around our neck does not stop cars from killing too many of us even if we all did. Knowing we are not that stupid and some of us won’t humor such scammy scheme’s does not make us at fault when the story gets cast as expected- the witch drowns, always does.

    So I agree with both dad’s. Everyone almost is doing it. Too few are insufficiently evil. Crazy people know they are onto something even if they can be counted on to get it wrong- being crazy as they are, blaming the greater victim’s. But make no mistake- driver’s alone don’t kill, those who profit from selling car’s, who deny the public superior technology, who prevent evolutions disruptions from us enjoying the belated end of cars being legal to pedal in public- in over lit lots till midnight not just high noon in the darkest places of our nation by the commissioned employer identifying in there recruitment of them animals who should get a life instead of just taxing us of our best and noblest so they can make sport of hustling big time only by spreading the really ill gotten gains in what can simply be called graft and corruption putting people in office and making dealership’s of our ultimate vice the real Mayor’s denying us governing for us so such Chaos can rule.

    It is unacceptable that we tolerate wide car ownership and abuse so an insignificant number of people can live high forcing us to hog and kill or die trying not to no matter what we do. Unless driving is absolute necessary it is manslaughter when death results. Only that fact must be determined- was it necessary.

    Has it ever been?

    Is there one ‘accident’ ever covered in this blog where the driving was the result of free moral choice? Just because most who bike are also as guilty in also NOT biking when they should does not change reality. Reality is simple. Driving is not caring about the value of life- it is sociopathy however epidemic. More of us can just say no, and be not considered at fault when we die instead of others in greater numbers had we drove instead. “I only kill those without a full kit” shouldn’t cut anyone loose. Driving alone is almost the last car on that train of abuse. Details beyond that must, we must find someway of stopping them, from distracting us of the essence of fatality from incompatibility. Cars are not merely incompatible with other ‘vehicles’- they are incompatible with city life period. It’s an arranged marriage that deranges as it rearranges on our ranges. Our love affair with better technology can be our decision to be safe- to not be driver’s until none of us, and all of us can be so much safer. It is in this light that the father enrages us for protecting her daughter driver a cops due, as our State is known to be a Nazi Empire serving us ground up if not for cannons then just for the grinding in the church of ignorance that imposes congestion preventing us from biking despite it being to anyone reasonable not just for liking. We are wealthy but we have no space to move. Everywhere cars litter public spaces. For no good reason. This fact is the definition of treason. No liberty to rush when we most need to. Only drafted to free up parking formore to be sold by drivingour own around and around till and after they kill again. Keep ’em moving however slowly. Make room for more to be sold. Ignore the cost. Work the blight. Don’t dare fight. Turn all away from real light. It’s not a thousand lumens that was needed but shame on those who lie and say there can ever be any blame put on those who so die. Cry instead- and get the fuck out of motor cities bed.

  15. Jonathan Dotson says:

    Thank you for taking the time to review my fathers story . He will be missed.

    • bikinginla says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Jonathan. From everything I’ve read, he seemed like a wonderful man. My heart goes out to you and your family.

      My father worked for the postal service as well, so this hits me a little closer to home.

  16. […] Ted Is All Over the Story of the LAPD Sergeant’s Daughter and the Hit and Run (Biking in LA) […]

  17. Caramel96 says:

    I believe her father knew exactly what happen. By him being an LAPD officer he would have known what caused damaged to her car. I hope she gets the book thrown at her. If it were me or someone else they would do the same or worse.

  18. If the LAPD Sgt wanted to protect his daughter he would have loaded the damaged vehicle into a truck and taken it to a place whit could be disposed without leaving a trace, . As I said before; “The daughter of the LAPD sergeant has been charged. Let us wait until the investigation indicates whether he was involved or had knowledge before lynching him. My thought is [still] if he was involved, her vehicle would not have been found at her home.”

  19. Deesimple says:

    Very sad on both extremes..Sad for the family of Jessie Dotson. RIP Jesse and blessings to his family. Also tragic for the girl that will have to carry that and probably ruined her life for a stupid mistake. Hope things pan out for her in the long run. Definitely agree that something needs to be done to curb these hit and runs. Yet also tragic to see these blogs and posts spitting hate instead of making head way on the right track. Alarmist title , usual attention grabber..

    • bikinginla says:

      Uh, okay. Maybe you can explain to me how a factual headline is alarmist, since this was, in fact, what the driver was charged with. Let alone anywhere in this piece where it resorts to “spitting hate.”

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