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South L.A. driver kills motorcyclist, flees

December 1, 2009 12:04:54 AM PST
The family of a motorcyclist killed in a hit-and-run accident made an emotional plea on Tuesday for the driver to turn himself in to police.A cross, candles and flowers mark the spot where 40-year-old Ronald Christopher Smith was killed in South Los Angeles on Monday.

"My brother didn't deserve this. He was a good person, he was a good son, he was a good grandson, he was a great father," said Alexis Yette, the victim's sister.

Smith was traveling southbound on Main Street just before 9 p.m. when a van traveling westbound on 120th Street ran a red light and hit him in the intersection. Smith was declared dead at the scene.

The driver of the van fled and was last seen going south on Broadway.

"Heartless people are just taking lives, and it's sad," said Smith's longtime best friend Michael McCullough.

Police said Smith had a green light and the right of way. Family members said Smith was on his way home from work when he was killed.

Outside Smith's mother's home in the Crenshaw district, his sister, cousin, grandmother and aunt comforted one another. They said Smith worked in construction, but with the economic downturn, he had taken a job as a security guard to help provide for his teenage daughter.

Smith's grandmother, Jewell Williams, said the driver should have the courage to surrender.

"If he doesn't turn himself in, he's going to get caught," Williams said. "He's hurt a lot of lives, and we're the ones that are suffering now. Ronnie is OK."

More of Smith's loved ones, who gathered at the scene of the accident Tuesday afternoon, were devastated.

"He was a good man. He didn't mess around with nobody. He always respected everybody. He respected women. That's the best, perfect mold of a man," said McCullough.

"It's just terrible. He had just called me at 8:37 and told me he was on his way home, and then I get another phone call 20 minutes later. That's just crazy," said Smith's girlfriend, Tyesha Armstead.

The suspect's vehicle is described as a 1980-1988 white Dodge van, with two blue stripes down the center and major damage to the front end. No license plate number was available.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.


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