Hit and run - finding the scumbag
July 13, 2012 4:59 PM   Subscribe

How to find a hit-and run driver in a fairly large city?

My wife was turning left into her work parking lot the other morning, when she was rear-ended badly enough to total the car. This is what we know:

The other driver was a Caucasian female, maybe 5'10, dishwater blonde hair, wearing a maroon polo shirt with a white logo over the left breast, and plaid shorts.

The accident occurred on a busy city street during morning rush hour. We know the direction in which the other driver fled.

All of the above information, witnesses, etc was provided to the police department, but no one got her license plate, and our insurance won't cover the deductible unless we can prove the other driver was uninsured, so we have to find the driver. To that end, I have contacted likely auto repair places to watch for the vehicle (a champagne of gold Dodge Caravan-type of vehicle), and chatted with the actual officers who patrol the streets in the accident area (as opposed to the accident investigation task force, which does nothing but...investigate accidents. Go figure.)

At this point, I'm looking for other things to try and do- I am turning at least one eye to the idea that since it was going-to-work hours, the other driver was in some kind of work uniform (the Purple Polo). Maybe this would tickle someone's memory in the Hive, I thought.

Anyone have any other useful ideas? We've started some #BOLO tweets, etc. I want this person, bad, if nothing else to collect my wife's deductible, as well as satisfying my sense of justice.
posted by pjern to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Look for security cameras that might have been covering the area. A friend of mine was the victim in a hit-and-run and he managed to find security footage from an unrelated business that identified the other driver.
posted by Sauce Trough at 5:03 PM on July 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Can you or someone else (or a couple of someones) stand around near the accident site for a few days around the same time that the accident happened? Most people take the same route to work, and you might see the car. The more you can look like you just happen to be standing there the better so as not to spook the driver and have her change course.
posted by la petite marie at 5:12 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

what city are you in? the outfit sounds like it might belong at a country club.
posted by kelegraph at 5:16 PM on July 13, 2012

Are there any ATMs facing this street? That would be my first place to start tracking down camera footage. I would look in both the immediate direction the car was coming from, and the direction it was going to. Hope this helps.
posted by invisible ink at 5:21 PM on July 13, 2012

Are you sure your insurance won't cover your deductable: have you actually asked them? I ask because when I got rear-ended by a hit & run driver a couple years ago, my insurance did cover my $500 deductible plus the full repair cost --- admittedly, I did manage to get the car's license number, although it turned out they were stolen plates and the driver was never caught.
posted by easily confused at 5:21 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Where was this? What city, what intersection? Memail me if you don't want those details on the open web.
posted by KathrynT at 5:22 PM on July 13, 2012

Response by poster: Where was this? What city, what intersection?

Indianapolis, IN

E 46th just East of Keystone AV, as seen in the link there. 8:10 AM on Thursday Jul 12.
posted by pjern at 5:34 PM on July 13, 2012

8:10am? My spidey-sense tells me that you're right she was late for 8am something or other. Since there appears to be nothing around there except for the stuff at 46th/Keystone, I started clicking around to see what, if anything, might use purple polo logo shirts.
posted by rhizome at 5:49 PM on July 13, 2012

I think Rhizome is on to something (even though purple is not the same as maroon :P). Is there a coffee shop or Starbucks near by? You may get some leads there as baristas are often familiar with clientele that wear uniforms on the regular.
posted by Hello Darling at 9:11 PM on July 13, 2012

I am curious about how you have that much detail describing the other driver? Plaid shorts?
posted by caclwmr4 at 9:54 PM on July 13, 2012

Woops, maroon! I don't know how I missed that.
posted by rhizome at 10:10 PM on July 13, 2012

Aside from golf course/country clubs and fast-food restaurants, I would also consider the following (within a certain radius)-

  • Motel desk clerk
  • Florist/nursery/Home Depot-type store employee
  • Daycare, preschool, montessori staff
  • Car rental agency worker
  • Fitness/gym club worker
  • Pet store employee

    Definitely clarify between purple and maroon before asking anyone for tips, as it will help narrow your search results.

    I really hope you find this person, but regardless, please post back and let us know what you end up doing.

  • posted by invisible ink at 10:19 PM on July 13, 2012

    CVS (map)
    EZPawn (map)
    Ralph's Muffler & Brake Shop seems to be pushing the maroon a bit (map)
    Don't forget to check your local chimneysweep! (map)
    Way down: Big Red Discount Towing (map)

    posted by rhizome at 10:35 PM on July 13, 2012

    Wow, all that detail about her and not even a partial plate. The cops recently caught some bank robbers around here based on their vehicle description, something that the police would obviously be doing already if they felt so inclined for this case.

    Most people take the same route to work, and you might see the car.

    It's possible, but I bet this one is stashed in a friend's or relative's garage until the heat is off. We don't even really know how driveable it is (except that she got away in it). Front end damage is probably substantial, alignment could be shot. I'd keep following up with the auto repair guys, and keep widening the net -- again, a cautious suspect in a hit and run will probably try to take it someplace not nearby if it needs work.

    I'd see if I can get a police sketch artist type of drawing, even from software, and put up posters in the area -- convenience stores and such -- advertising a modest reward for information. I'd probably try to go about a mile in every direction from the accident scene on all the thoroughfares.

    While this is only a money issue for you, it's highly likely that the person fled because they have another issue before the law, like a warrant, or were driving uninsured, and so there's a good chance this person is a danger to the public at large.

    I would definitely see if you can get the security tape, but some places (e.g. banks) might not turn them over without a court order. But mom-and-pop stores may be quite cooperative, if they have the footage, so hurry before they rotate the tapes/disk space.

    I wouldn't concern myself too much regarding maroon and purple -- I bet at least 3 of 5 people won't be able to distinguish them unless they had both in front of them. Maybe say "reddish purple" on your flyer.
    posted by dhartung at 11:28 PM on July 13, 2012

    Response by poster: I am curious about how you have that much detail describing the other driver? Plaid shorts?

    Fair enough. The other driver got out of the van, briefly, to examine the damage. My wife was rooting in her purse for license & registration, her passenger noted the other driver's clothes.
    posted by pjern at 5:46 AM on July 14, 2012

    Plaid + Logo Polo smells like private school uniform to me. Could she have been a student or a teacher somewhere nearby?
    posted by Rock Steady at 6:54 AM on July 14, 2012

    Lot of public school employees wear logo polls, and many public school districts keep up day programs, breakfast and lunch all summer for any children under 18.
    posted by toodleydoodley at 7:18 AM on July 14, 2012

    Can your wife's passenger describe the driver to a police sketch artist while the incident is still fresh in her mind? A hit-and-run with no injuries is unlikely to warrant that level of police attention, so I assume that you'd have to hire the artist yourself.
    posted by nicebookrack at 8:56 AM on July 14, 2012

    The cleaning and kitchen staff at my college wore maroonish polos with white logos. This was in Georgia so I doubt one of them was the culprit, but possibly it's a building-services staffperson in the surrounding area.
    posted by nicebookrack at 9:07 AM on July 14, 2012

    Wow. That sucks. I can't believe that damage resulted in a total.
    Running from the scene could very possibly mean an uninsured driver. And, knowing that area of town, that's a distinct possibility.

    Which direction did they flee? That could give us an idea of where to look.
    posted by Thorzdad at 1:07 PM on July 14, 2012

    Response by poster: Which direction did they flee? That could give us an idea of where to look.

    Last seen northbound on Keystone from 46th.
    posted by pjern at 6:40 PM on July 14, 2012

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