HIGHLAND PARK (CBSLA.com) – The family of a grandmother struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident in Highland Park last year has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the driver and the city and county of Los Angeles.
A Honda Civic struck and killed Gloria Ortiz, 57, as she was crossing Avenue 50 in a marked crosswalk near her home Sept. 14, 2014.
She had just become an American citizen and was leaving a party celebrating her citizenship when she was hit.
“I want justice for my mother,” the victim’s daughter Yesenia Ortiz declared. “It bothers me every single day, knowing that the driver fled the scene.”
The victim’s family said the memory of watching her die in the street still haunts them.
Police had identified the driver but did not charge him for reasons that remain unclear.
Now, the Ortiz family is suing the driver and the city and county of Los Angeles.
The family said the crosswalk next to an elementary school is dangerous for pedestrians and not visible enough to drivers, especially at night.
“This whole area in Highland Park, Avenue 50 particularly, is known as a dangerous area because there’s a lot of commuters, a lot of cars very fast,” attorney Brian Kabateck said.
Ortiz’s family wants blinking lights installed, which they believe could have prevented the pain of losing her. “To avoid any other family to go through what we’re going through,” Yesenia said.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Peter Daut reached out to the city and county for comment but have yet to hear back.
The family also hopes the lawsuit puts pressure on the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to file charges against the driver.