Hit-and-run culprits hard to catch and to prosecute in Nashville

Metro Nashville Police Department has a dedicated unit
Pedestrian Crossing Street Sign
Posted at 7:46 PM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-08 21:19:51-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Just this past week in Nashville, two hit-and-runs injured three and killed a Nashville woman.

Security video shows three pedestrians in a hit-and-run. Even more alarming — could it have been intentional?

"There wasn't any remorse or hesitation. He made the decision to hit us and he did," said David Diamond, one of the victims.

Intentional or not, such incidents show how dangerous it can be to simply cross a road. The city has seen more than its share of hit-and-run drivers so far this year. What can be done — especially when all too often those responsible are never caught? Some crimes are so serious or numerous, officers are specifically assigned to work the cases.

For instance, a murder — there's a Metro homicide unit.

But did you know there is also a Metro hit-and-run unit?

That's right, a team of officers specifically assigned to only investigate the thousands of hit-and-runs like this one each year.

Surveillance video from early Saturday morning shows three pedestrians run down by a red Mustang in the Wedgewood area.

"I'm bruised from my shoulder to my feet with road rash and my ear is split open," said victim Julie Bostain.

They all suffered serious injuries and do believe the driver deliberately accelerated into them and then sped off.

"Someone with that lack of morals doesn't deserve to be on the road driving and using a vehicle as a weapon," said Diamond.

Two days later there was yet another hit-and-run. This one deadly as a red Tahoe hit a woman crossing Oakwood Avenue.

In both these cases, the suspects remain at large.

"You are supposed to stop and return and wait for law enforcement to show up," said NewsChannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo,

But too often that does not happen.

"I think most of the time people leave the scene because they are intoxicated, have outstanding warrants or are running from something," said Leonardo.

And, then they are rarely caught.

Security video doesn't always show the license plate number or a view of the drivers face.

"You gotta have an eyewitness or video showing that person was in control of the vehicle," said Leonardo.

And even if the suspect is somehow caught hours or days later -- prosecution can be difficult.

By then they may have sobered up.

And, there are cases where the car is traced, but then the owner claims he wasn't behind the wheel.

In other instances, the driver may say they didn't know they hit anyone.

It's left to prosecutors to prove otherwise and isn't easy.

Here is a very big number to think about: There have been more than 14-thousand reported hit and run crashes in Metro over the past two years.

Of those, only a very small percentage led to arrests, prosecution and convictions.

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