Encino fatal hit-and-run crash: Suspect surrenders to police


The incident happened at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Gaviota Avenue around 12:15 a.m. Police say the victim, a man in his late 40s, was walking outside of the crosswalk and into traffic when he was struck. It is unclear why the man was in the street.

Police say skid marks were left in the road, where the driver of a black Cadillac Escalade apparently tried to swerve to avoid hitting the man. The man died at the scene and the driver fled.

The driver is now facing a felony hit-and-run charge. Police say if the driver had stopped, they most likely would not be facing charges because the pedestrian was walking in a lane of traffic.

"Had that driver stopped, and everything was in order, we would have done our investigation of this tragic, tragic incident where somebody lost his life, but then, potentially, that driver would have been allowed to leave," said LAPD Det. Bill Bustos.

There have been several hit-and-runs in the Los Angeles area recently, including nearly 10 in the past 30 days. Police say it is important drivers pay attention to the road and if there is an accident that they contact authorities immediately and render aid.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino released a statement after Monday's crash: "While the City of Los Angeles is taking immediate action to address this ongoing problem, I call upon the state legislature to stiffen the penalties for hit and run crimes, making them equivalent in seriousness to DUI offenses."

Buscaino also proposed a motion to the city offering standing monetary rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of drivers who flee the scene of an accident.

Police are looking for a black, newer model Cadillac Escalade with tinted windows, front-end damage and partial license plate 6EW. It was last seen going east on Ventura Boulevard and then north on Haskell Avenue.

The LAPD said a 26-year-old man from Woodland Hills surrendered to police with his attorney Monday afternoon.

Grant James Valentine walked into LAPD Valley Traffic Division station with his attorney and turned himself in. He was arrested and booked for felony hit-and-run and is being held on $50,000.00 bail.

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