Family Pleads for Help in Fatal Hit and Run

December 15, 2006

Los Angeles: Los Angeles police detectives and the family of 76-year-old Mary Rickenbacker are asking the public’s help in identifying the driver of the van that hit and killed Mary on December 1, 2006.

"This is a manslaughter case," said Captain Nancy Lauer of the LAPD’s West Traffic Division. "We’ve exhausted every lead and now we’re asking the public’s help to identify the driver and van."

Mary Rickenbacker was crossing Washington Boulevard just before 9 AM when a burgundy 1988 Chevy Astro van, going southbound on Gramercy Place, struck her in the crosswalk. The driver stopped momentarily, then sped away. Mary died later that day at the hospital.

Witnesses were able to get the van’s license plate, California 5HVF118, which confirmed the make and model, but the registration information was not current. The last owner relinquished ownership in Fresno in April 2005, but detectives believe the license plate belongs to that van.

"We hope someone will recognized the van’s description and come forward with information on it or the driver," added Captain Lauer.

Anyone with information about the van or the driver is asked to call the West Traffic Division at 213-473-0222. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).