Hit-and-run accidents rise as response time slows

Hit-and-run accidents rise as response time slows

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (myFOXDetroit.com) -

So far this year, 31 pedestrian accidents have been reported in the city. And of that number, six have been hit-and-runs.

Three pedestrians were critically hurt, including 16-year-old Patrick Johnson, the son of a Detroit firefighter. In January, Johnson slipped on the ice and was hit and then dragged by the car.

And just recently, Marco Jennings was hit as he was walking across Eight Mile and Gratiot.

The other three pedestrians died as a result of hit-and-run accidents, including 10-year old Christopher Sandoval. He was run over outside of his home a month ago while taking out the trash. The driver of a 2001 red Dodge Ram didn't even stop, except to remove the trash can from the front of his pick-up.

Each hit-and-run is different. In some cases, the pedestrians are out in traffic, or a lack of street lights is to blame. But the problem is made worse by the lack of officers on the streets, added to the slow response time of police and EMS. The slow response time can cause the situation to escalate out of control, as in this recent situation.

The passenger of a BMW shot the man driving, who then ran over someone. The passenger took off while the injured 56-year-old pedestrian lay helpless on the ground.

Meanwhile, a man came along and robbed the driver, while he sat helpless with a gunshot wound to the head. Police and EMS were notified, but took about a half hour to arrive.

Sources say the manpower problem is going to get worse. Hundreds of officers will be eligible to retire come June, but many have already left and gone to other departments.

According to the Detroit Police Officer's Association, comprised of 1,900 officers, 42 of those officers have left since January. It's a sad reality, and it makes the jobs of investigators harder, which is why tips from the public are becoming more crucial.

"We've solved a lot of cases with the assistance of Crime Stoppers, and we've noticed a lot more people are calling Crime Stoppers and doing their part to help us out to get these criminals off the streets," Officer Scott Sheets of the Detroit Police Fatal Squad tells Fox 2.

Remember all Crime Stopper call are taken anonymously. The number is 1-800-SPEAK-UP. The link to its web site can is http://1800speakup.org/.

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