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Special needs student killed in South Los Angeles hit-and-run

November 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A family is demanding justice for a special needs student killed in a hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles over the weekend.

The deadly accident happened around 7 p.m. Saturday after a routine trip to Burger King, according to the victim's brother, Hector Mendez. The victim, 18-year-old Miguel Mendez, was crossing Broadway just south of Century Boulevard when he was hit by a minivan.

"I just wish that could have been me, not him," said Hector Mendez. "He was barely going to start life."

Surveillance cameras outside a convenience store caught the vehicle speeding down the street without its headlights on just moments before the accident. Police say Mendez was not crossing in the crosswalk.

Rolando Polanco, who owns the convenience store, says speeding is an issue at the intersection. He has put up a poster telling drivers to slow down.

Friends and family say Mendez, who was a student at Banneker Special Education Center, always had a smile on his face.

A memorial of candles and flowers now marks the spot where Mendez was run down. The community is also collecting donations to help the family with funeral expenses.

Hector Mendez can't help but wonder if the driver stopped and immediately called for help, perhaps his brother would be alive.

"If I could talk to the guy I'd say, 'Why did you do it? Why didn't you have your lights on, why were you going so fast? Don't you understand the rules?'"

The suspect's vehicle is believed to be a green late-model Chrysler Town and Country minivan. Anyone with information was asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) LAPD-24-7.


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