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Driver in deadly hit-and-run sought

August 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The search is on for a suspected hit-and-run driver that killed a 14-year-old boy in Inglewood. A small memorial is growing on Imperial Highway, just east of Crenshaw Boulevard, where the accident took place at about 1 a.m. Sunday.

Family and friends are pleading for the public to come forward to help identify the driver that killed Semaj Spencer.

"If you have a conscience, if you have a child, if you have a heart, please come forward. Please come forward. I need closure" the boy's mother Penny Hoover said through tears.

Police said Spencer was crossing Imperial when a car struck and dragged him about 50 feet.

The impact was so extreme it knocked Spencer out of his shoes.

The driver didn't stop, and witnesses said the car appeared to be going over the speed limit.

Police said the teen was not in the crosswalk when he was hit.

"I don't want to say that he was jaywalking technically, but he was crossing in an unmarked area," said Lt. Michael McBride from the Inglewood Police Department.

"However, it doesn't change the fact that this man was still in a speeding vehicle, failed to stop, hit-and-run," McBride added.

McBride said there was a patrol officer in the area at the time and saw a vehicle leave at a high rate of speed but couldn't catch up to it. Witnesses said the vehicle was traveling almost 100 miles per hour.

Police describe the vehicle as a dark red Ford Focus with tinted windows and front-end damage from the accident.

Spencer's friend witnessed the accident and was nearly hit.

Spencer's parents want their son's killer brought to justice.

"He was a 14-year-old kid trying to grow up. He'll never have that opportunity. You took it away," said father Jerry Hoover.

Police say they have gotten some tips from witnesses, but they need more help from the public. Anyone with information is urged to call the Inglewood Police Department at (310) 412-5134.

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