Tucson loves to hit and run

“Hit and run” is such a cowardly crime – but it’s also a fairly common one in Tucson.

Photo (but not crash) by Ryn Gargulinski

This guy isn't running anywhere/Stock crash photo Ryn Gargulinski

When it comes to hitting a parked vehicle and taking off, we rank above the national average – but not by much, according to an Allstate claims study. Across America, drivers flee 69 percent of the time after hitting a parked car, while in Tucson it’s 72 percent.

Tsk, tsk.

Tucson also has a notable list of other hit and runs, whether it’s hitting dogs, trains, fixed objects, pedestrians or bicyclists and whether drivers leave them unscathed, damaged, injured or dead. From 2008 through January, drivers in Tucson were involved in 8,255 hit and runs of all sorts, or about 10 per day.

One of the saddest hit and runs within the last few years involved 2-year-old Billy Montoya. He was hit by a truck in the 5100 block of South Park Avenue the evening of Oct. 20, 2008.

Billy had been playing in front of his house under the supervision of a teenage relative when he saw his grandmother on the opposite side of the street and ran to meet her.

“The child didn’t make it two steps into the street,” now-retired Tucson police Sgt. Mark Robinson said in an interview at the time.

The boy died instantly. The truck kept going.

So what’s the deal with the large number of hit and runs? We have a few theories:

My friend would blame parked car hit and runs on Tucson parking lots, which he claims are laid out to resemble rat mazes or a the set of a bad driver’s ed movie. That may explain why so many parked cars are hit, but it still doesn’t explain why drivers flee after hitting them.

Some people are cowards. They don’t want face what they’ve done. As long as they quickly report their vehicle stolen and take it to the nearest chop shop, heck – there won’t even be any evidence. The man who nearly killed Tucsonan Lizzie Mead and her two greyhounds after slamming into Mead’s truck in late 2008 reportedly got out of his damaged vehicle, ran, and then called cops to report his vehicle stolen.

Some people are drunk. Being cited for leaving the scene of an accident is a lesser offense than being involved in a DUI crash. Thus, the drunks may be drunk but they are coherent enough to run away. Even if they are eventually nabbed to pay the piper, that payment won’t involve a DUI charge.

Some people may not realize they hit something or may not realize they caused damage. OK, will give a few the benefit of the doubt.

And the saddest theory of all: some people just don’t care.


Various Tucson hit and runs from 2008 through Jan. 2010:

Leaving pedestrian dead – 2
Leaving bicyclist dead – 1
Leaving pedestrian injured – 124
Leaving scene of crash where there were injuries – 610
Leaving bicyclist injured – 120
Hitting an animal and fleeing – 22
Hitting a train and fleeing – 4
Damaging another car and fleeing – 3,749
Damaging another car and fleeing (non-traffic) – 2,555

Source: Tucson Police Department

Note: Non-traffic would be the parked car.

wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Any other theories on why people hit and run?

Do you have any hit and run stories to share?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, death, gross stuff, life, Police/fire/law, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Tucson loves to hit and run

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Your friend is absolutely correct, some parking lots  seem to be designed by the Rio Nuevo planning commission, total chaos. First one that comes to mind is a Dunkin’ Doughnuts shop on Grant & Swan that is a nightmare to get to.
    I’m not surprised that drunks flee the scene of an accident, penalties being skewed in my view. I think the penalty for drag racing is even more severe than hit and run, screwy. Feelin’ any better?

    • Rynski says:

      hiya radmax!
      you are absolutely correct on that swan/grant dunkin’ donuts parking lot – oh, how we risk our lives – and vehicles – for a cup of  dd french vanilla!
      crazy about  penalty severity, too. geesh. drag racing? i wouldn’t even think that possible in tucson the way the streets are clogged. actually, how do people run so frequently, too, if the streets are always so clogged? it should be renamed “hit and putt-putt.”
      as for feeling better, i’m actually feeling worse but dayquil kicked in to get me through morn. thanks for askin. i feel like i was hit by a mack truck – that ran.

  2. leftfield says:

    I think the high number of hit and runs is a reflection of the type of people who live in AZ, just the same way the people we elect and send to Phoenix is a reflection of the type of people who live in AZ. 

    I think most Arizonans would say, “Show me where in the constitution it says I have to stop after running over a child while drunk”.

    In case you’re wondering, I just finished reading the AZ Daily Star.  The same folks who can’t come up with a budget somehow find time to vote out of committee a going-nowhere bill about candidates for President proving their citizenship. 

    Idea – New TV series filmed right here in AZ; sure to bring much needed money into the state: “When Rednecks Attack”.

    • Rynski says:

      ha! so sad but true – on all of the above. it’s VERY important we have votes on going-nowhere bills RIGHT NOW. it’s the same method of avoidance i used to use for studying for exams – all of a sudden i had to clean my closet rather than study.
      so they have to work on meaningless things to avoid the real issues at hand.

  3. leftfield says:

    And people wonder why I talk to chickens.

  4. tiponeill says:

    Let’s see – Arizona doesn’t have no fault insurance and loud ads on TV every night from lawyers promising to sue their @sses off .
    Then there is an element of the population that probably has trouble getting the proper drivers license and insurance coverage.
    And finally, an element of the population verging on senility who may not even realize they have had a collision and if they do realize it can’t get out of the car and walk to leve a note without motorized assistance.
    I find it difficult to avoid getting hit by shopping carts when I go grocery shopping in Tucson 🙂

    • radmax says:

      “And finally, an element of the population verging on senility who may not even realize they have had a collision and if they do realize it can’t get out of the car and walk to leve a note without motorized assistance.”
      Sad, but all too true. I think you hit the nail on the head Tip. 🙂

    • Rynski says:

      yes – these are AWESOME theories, tip.
      the no insurance one i totally forgot about….i think that penalty is something like $900 right off the bat…
      and yes, i, too, am almost always plowed by a shopping cart or 700 when i’m at the grocery. scary!

  5. ado1 says:

    Leaving the scene of an accident is an irresponsible act, that cannot be denied.

    Given that personal responsibility is not a trait associated with the leftist gang who wants the taxes of the working folks to provide everything they need  and that the greater Tucson area seems to be voting increasingly left wing,  it don’t take rocket science to conclude why there are so many acts of personal irresponsibility happening in Tucson. It’s just an extension of their personal ideology.

  6. Vic says:

    I’ve come close to being hit as a pedestrian twice in one week in parking lots in Tucson. Both times when I looked back, it was a was a young woman behind the wheel, speeding and looking down at her cell phone. It’s as if they feel that once in their car, they’re in another world removed from the rest of us. They’re not being taught civic duty, responsibility and good driving skills. Driving, and being on or near the public roadways is the most dangerous thing most of us do on a regular basis. Even a professional driver is only as good as his attitude and attention to the road. Lotta people in a rush that get exasperated when someone gets in front of them. And, it doesn’t get them much further anyway. Get an earlier start, and work on your attitude. Be very careful in parking lots. I notice a lot of drivers speed through parking lots. It only takes one time to ruin yours and somebody else’s lives.

    • Rynski says:

      thanks for input, vic.
      parking lots are a major calamity course. i usually try to park waaaaay in the back, away from other drivers, and then assume, on my walk to the store, that every car is about to pull out suddenly. sometimes they are.
      i agree the cell phone yappers – of any age, but particularly younger set – can be another major hazard. perhaps they just don’t realize that they are in a hulking piece of machinery that can actually kill someone?

  7. tiponeill says:

    greater Tucson area seems to be voting increasingly left wing,  it don’t take rocket science

    Rocket science actually might look at the statistics which show that Scottsdale has a much higher rate than the People’s Republic of Tucson 😉
    Whenever someone says ‘it don’t take rocket science’ you can be sure that they are going to spout something unencumbered by reality 😉

  8. azmouse says:

    Man’s inhumanity to man comes in many forms and leaving someone lying in the road, dying, because you accidently hit them is inhumane. I could never live with myself…..

    I don’t know if I could live with myself if I accidently hit someone and I stopped to help them and did everything I could, but they still died. I would be devastated.

    • azmouse says:

      BTW Ryn, sorry you still feel so crappy. Mine lasted forever when I was sick.
      Hopefully, it’s getting worse, so it can get better. 🙂

    • Rynski says:

      i agree on inhumanity and devastation…hopefully we’ll not know either first hand.
      thanks also on well wishes – i HOPE illness is going to get better. it’s at the point where it sure doesn’t seem like it will.
      sigh. at least i still have an appetite – even though i can’t really taste anything.

      • azmouse says:

        It has been the worst cold/flu season I can recall ever having..at least in my household. Me and my son passed it back and forth for months and just now seem to have gotten away from it. FLUIDS!! lol

      • Rynski says:

        yuck – glad yours has finally left the household – i remember you were sick for quite some time…think i’ll go drink some more water and emergen-CEEEEEE then off to doc….

      • azmouse says:

        you may need antibiotics…we did. Good luck!

      • Rynski says:

        update – doc says it’s a virus gotta ride it out no way to speed up its course. gave some meds for cough/headache/sinus, etc.
        i feel like a moldy pancake…
        thanks for luck!
        sick day thursday to sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep…
        but i posted a snappy/crappy to go live thurs a.m. so you can enjoy while i’m sleeping.

      • radmax says:

        Snap/crap! Rynski comes through with the shadow of death hangin over her…you deserve a raise! Get Gannett on the horn. 😉
        If this is the same malady I acquired awhile back, where your head feels like iron and every sound resonates like someone is playin’ it like a tympani…you are truly a trooper Rynski! Get better soon! We’ll miss you.

      • Rynski says:

        hahha – thanks radmax.
        yes, i am suffering from iron skull/tympani syndrome. also suffering from not being able to sleep. since my new M.O. is waking up at 3 a.m., i decided to work anyway thursday (today) – even in my drumming head anguish – hahha.
        snap crap on its way to amuse soon….

  9. Hoosier Woman says:

    I responded about this very thing on my local newspaper’s blog. We were asked to talk about things that aggrivate us. I said that I am aggrivated by people feeling like they are “entitled” to everything and that everyone should just move out of thier way while walking in parking lots. I said that I was raised (in Tucson) and my mother always told me that is is always harder for the person in the car to be able so see all around them, at all times, when backing out of their parking spot, and that it is so much easier for the pedestrian to see when a car starts to back out, so I had better be a polite pedistrian and stop walking and allow the person driving to back out of their spot. Here in Indiana you have snow and fogged up windows on your car making it difficult to see pedestrians while your backing out!  But from what I see now a days, pedestrians are in such a hurry to get to their car that even if they see someone trying to carefully back out, they keep walking anyways and they expect you to slam on your breaks, because they are “entitled” and only thinking about themselves! I cant stand rude people like that! But hey they figure that if you hit them they can sue you!

    • Rynski says:

      i hear ya, hoosier woman.
      that sense of entitlement is annoying all across the board – it’s very evident in parking lots, as you pointed out, and also on the road when people EXPECT you to let them in a lane, etc.
      also filters through daily life with bad attitudes and rude behavior.
      thanks for input!

  10. Andy Morales says:

    I was hit by a car that ran a red light while I was on a scooter near the UA when I was an undergrad (about 1986).
    I was knocked out for a few minutes and a passer by picked me up and put me in his car and drove me to University Hospital – no one would come out and get me so I had to walk in.
    This was before the law came into be that hospitals had to treat injured people who may not have insurance.
    I was in such a daze that I did not know if I had insurance (I did).  The emergency room staff would not touch my head and gave me some aspirins (no lie) because I didn’t know what they were asking me about my ability to pay.
    The cops came about 45 minutes later and said good luck – if I had died then it would have been a priority.
    My parents had to come and take me home – have the case number somewhere.

    • Rynski says:

      wow, andy. how awful!
      first off – glad you’re OK. also glad someone helped get you to the hospital. amazing about the hospital treatment, or lack thereof. geesh.
      also very enraging that the uncaring person who hit you got away with it – at least until he or she is plagued with horrific karma that makes his/her life miserable. gotta believe what goes around comes around. and it does.
      thanks for input.

  11. 传奇私服 says:

    You made some good points there. I searched this topic and found out that most people will agree with your blog.

  12. fraser007 says:

    I am curious. In the survey it mentioned “a hit and run on a train”…a car hitting a train and then left the scene. Interesting!! LOL. Did the train even notice. Did the driver survive!!!
    The others are tragic, that one is funny.

  13. Klif says:

    Has anyone considered the growing number of illegal aliens involved in accidents that feel they risk deportation if caught?  I would be interested to get the stats on hit and runs last year  compared to 20 years ago when the illegal population was lower.

  14. 传奇私服 says:

    Jeep has been around for a long time and its here to stay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s