SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

August 5, 2013

Hit-and-run driver accelerated onto LA boardwalk

(Continued)

The family declined to speak to The Associated Press yesterday.

Another person was critically injured. Two others were taken to hospitals in serious condition. Eight suffered less serious injuries, police said.

According to security video and witness accounts, the driver parked next to the Cadillac Hotel and twice walked out to the boardwalk before getting into the Dodge Avenger. He carefully maneuvered between a storefront and metal poles that had been erected to prevent anyone from driving onto the boardwalk.

Then, he stepped on the accelerator and plunged into the crowd.

“I heard a big ‘boom, boom,’ like the sound of someone going up and down the curb, it was super loud,” said Alex Hagan, who was working the desk at the hotel.

The driver knocked over two mannequins and an ATM and started hitting people, swerving from side to side and often running straight into victims. Video showed the car struck at least three vendors — a fortune teller, a couple selling jewelry and a woman who does tattooing.

Two women who appeared to be in their 60s were also hit. Many people ran after the car, screaming and cursing as it sped away, Hagan said.

Golestan Alipour was bartending at Candle Cafe & Grill when the menacing vehicle drew near.

“The restaurant was full. Everybody ran,” Alipour said.

It was not immediately clear how fast the car was going.

The driver eventually turned up a side street and headed away from the ocean. The car was later found abandoned less than two miles away, police said.

At the scene, detectives searched for evidence across the boardwalk, which is in a part of Los Angeles known for eccentricities. The 1.5-mile ribbon of asphalt — which runs along the sand a few hundred yards from the ocean — is home to galleries, restaurants, tattoo shops, skateboard parks and the famous outdoor weight room known as Muscle Beach. It can draw as many as 150,000 people on summer weekends.

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