HIT AND RUN CRASHES A CONCERN IN EUREKA
It can happen in an instant— someone strikes your car and before you know it they're gone.
"So far in 2013, we've had a couple hit and runs,” Senior Traffic Officer Gary Whitmer said.
Officer Whitmer adds that in Eureka there's usually more than 200 hit and runs a year.
"A lot of those are the minor hit and runs that happen over the night,” Officer Whitmer said. “No suspect information, minor damage things like that."
In 2012, Eureka Police reported 221 hit and run accidents.
"If the person is legal, there's no reason to run," Chief Murl Harpham said.
Chief Harpham said people tend to flee for the same reasons.
"Because they've been drinking, they've got suspended licenses, or they're wanted by the police for some other crime," he said.
He adds that every once in a while, it's a new driver who just doesn't know what to do.
"There are times when a kid—beginning driver type thing, will just panic," Chief Harpham said.
And that most of the time the driver gets away. Officer Whitmer says that this is why hit and run cases are so tricky.
"Sometimes you don't have enough evidence to go on,” Officer Whitmer said. “Sometimes you just have a car no, driver.
He says it requires a lot of follow up, witness information and sometimes—forensic work. He said having the license plate and driver description would help alleviate that extra work.
"So when you contact the owner of the car, they might not be the driver but they could help identify who it was based of the description," Officer Whitmer said.
That goes for people who see a hit and run happen as well.
"Get on the phone, call 911, if it's safe to do so, follow the person," he adds.
And to always be aware of your surroundings especially if it were to occur in heavy traffic.