How Hard is it to Track Down a Hit and Run Driver?

Photo by PoPville flickr user DCin3MP

A resident writes on the MPD-1st District listserv:

“I guess I’m just naïve, but after my husband and I helped a poor man hit on his bicycle by a hit-and-run driver three weeks ago, we assumed that the driver would be found quickly because, although no one saw a complete license plate number, we got the state (DC), the last four digits, and the make and color of the car, as well as a pretty good description of the driver. Three weeks (and several unreturned phone calls) later, I just learned that nothing has been done because there are “a huge number” of DC plates with the same last four digits, and apparently no one is willing to cross check for a black Volvo. Is it really that hard to run a partial license plate? From my uninformed perspective, it just seems like there isn’t any interest in following up. But I’m happy to be corrected by an expert.”

MPD responds:

“I’m not sure who you called but we do have a hit and run investigator here at 1D that has closed numerous cases. Sometimes we get partials and when we run them they don’t match the description of the car- and this is a time consuming process.

If you have further questions please email our coordinator at [email protected] if you have the report numbers that would be beneficial to address this specific crash, if not the date/time and location should provide her with the information to assist you. However, any information regarding specific progress, identity of the driver etc will generally not be provided to non-involved parties until after any arrests (and that’s if an identification is needed from independent witnesses it will not taint that identification).”

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