LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Los Angeles City Council has offered a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the motorist who fatally struck a 57-year-old woman in North Hollywood, then fled.
Melva Chapman was hit by the driver of a white Toyota Tacoma pickup truck on Feb. 27 at 8:20 p.m. while she walked across Saticoy Street near Lemp Avenue. Chapman, who lived in Sun Valley, died at the scene. Relatives said she was returning from a doctor’s appointment.
“He just left her there in the street, laying like a dog,” Chapman’s 91-year-old mother, Eva Esquivel, said. “I just want to let him know that it hurts to the bottom of my heart, because she was my baby.”
She added, “I hope somebody has the decency in saying, ‘I hurt your daughter,’ because it hurts a lot.”
Los Angeles Police Department Detective Bill Bustos said the Tacoma appeared to be a model from 2005 to 2011, and it likely had front-end damage based on “physical evidence” left at the scene and interviews with witnesses.
Chapman was walking legally along an unmarked crosswalk, he said.
Bustos said the department has run out of leads, and he hopes the reward — which was sponsored by Councilman Paul Krekorian — “will serve as an incentive for somebody to do the right thing.”
Chapman’s sister, Gloria Gallarza, said she believes there are witnesses out there who can help find the suspect.
“I know there’s neighbors or friends or somebody that has seen it, and I wish you would just turn yourself in,” she said. “We need closure.”
“We’re lost without her,” Gallarza said. “Every time we hear the doorbell ring, we’re think it’s her that’s coming home, but we know she’s not going to come home.”
Bustos urged anyone with information to call the Valley Traffic Division at (818) 644-8000 or the LAPD’s anonymous tip hotline at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
The council last week voted to offer rewards automatically when there is a hit-and-run, but the standing rewards — which range from $1,000 to $50,000 depending on the severity — still need approval from the mayor before they can go into effect.